Names of awardees for the Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) Heroes Awards 2021 was revealed during Flying Officers Cup draw ceremony held in Abuja on Thursday.
The award committee headed by Moses Nagogo Bako followed a set of eligibility criteria which considers factors such as achievements and pedigree of the nominees.
The prestigious award is conferred on those personalities who have rendered outstanding meritorious services to the development of sports and women’s football in the country and beyond.
The award comes in two categories of Special Posthumous Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Four people will be honoured in the posthumous awards category. There are;
Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile: The first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigeria Air Force. She contributed significantly to combat operations against insecurity in the northern states of Nigeria. Arotile died from a head injury sustained in an accident at the Nigerian Air Force base.
Henrietta Ukaigwe: She was a veteran sports journalist cum women’s football promoter. Started FFIG – Female Football Interest Group comprising individuals, who actively promoted and energetically projected the women’s game and made it an item of consequence in the media and public space across the nation from the nineties. This group did not only report the game; it coalesced efforts and resources to organize women’s football tournaments and provided much-needed stout and meaningful support to administrators at that incipient stage.
Chief Larry Eze: Pioneer of women’s football in Nigeria and the Proprietor of defunct Larry Angels, It should be noted that Larry Angels and the likes of Rivers Mermaids metamorphosed to Rivers Angels in the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership.
Chief Sunny Eghaghe Inneh: Pioneer of women’s football in Nigeria and the Proprietor of defunct Inneh Babes. Inneh babes metamorphosed to Edo Queens in the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership
Lifetime Achievement Awards
Chioma Ajunwa: Former athlete, notable for being the first Nigerian to win gold at 1996 summer Olympics. The first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event. She remains only woman to compete at the FIFA world cup both as a footballer and the Olympics as a track and field athlete. She is now an assistant commissioner of Police.
Princesses Bola Jegede: Pioneer of women’s football in Nigeria played a pivotal role in Organizing the first women Inter-club competition in Nigeria in 1990. The establishment of her female football Club, Jegede Babes in the late 1980s culminated in the establishment of other female football Clubs in the country producing players for the nascent Super Falcons squad to the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991.
Ismaila Mabo: He was the head coach of the Nigeria women’s national team at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2000 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics. He led Nigeria to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, the team’s best ever result
Eddington Kujebola: Pioneer of women’s football in Nigeria and the Proprietor of defunct Ufuoma Babes of warri. Notable players for Ufuoma Babes were Florence Omagbemi, Mavis Ogun, Patience Avre, Uche Eucharia, Mercy Akide, Omo Love Branch, Nkiru Okieseme, Florence Iweta, Phoebe Ebimienkumo, etc.
Alhaja Ayo Omidiran: Pioneer of women’s football in Nigeria and the Proprietor of Omidiran babes, which left the football scene but are now back. She became a member of the Nigerian Football Association Board and remained there till 2005. Since 2006, she has been a member of the FIFA Women Committee.
Other Awards are:
Heroic Icon Of The Year: Leah Shuiabu.
Women Football Promoter of the year: Phillip Shuiabu.
Women Football Grassroots Icon of the year: Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi.
Women Football Trailblazer of the year: Aisha Falode.