By Gbenga Jolaosho
President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick and another Member of the NFF Executive Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed ‘Fresh’ were at the inaugural edition of the New Telegraph Awards awarded for their outstanding performance in football administration and development in the country.
The awards event, which held at the Balmoral Events Centre of Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos on Saturday night, saw Pinnick, also a Member of the CAF Executive Committee, CAF Emergency Committee and President of AFCON, as well as being a Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions, winning the Sports Administrator of the Year award while Ahmed popularly called ‘Fresh’ won Grassroots Football Development award.
Apart from taking Nigerian Football to a high level of global reckoning in football politics, the Pinnick –led NFF’s adroit man-management, focus, energy and dynamism saw the Super Eagles conduct a sterling 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, in which they qualified from a so –called ‘Group of Death’ with a match to spare, and left second –placed Zambia stranded six points behind.
There has also been unprecedented sponsorship agreements with top –notch corporate bodies, and a landmark agreement with the Super Eagles players and management on the team’s share of expected income from FIFA on 2018 World Cup participation underscored a transparent and refreshing new way of doing things.
Ahmed ‘Fresh,’ who is Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee and much respected for his contributions to grassroots football and youth empowerment, was honoured with the Grassroots Football Development award. He is also a Member of the CAF Technical and Development Committee.
At the occasion to felicitate with the duo were Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi (NFF 1st Vice President and Member of CAF Youth Competitions Committee), Mallam Shehu Dikko (NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman and Member of FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee), NFF Executive Committee members Sharif Inuwa, Aisha Falode and Mohammed Alkali, NLO CEO Ahmad Kawu, NFF Congress members Tade Azeez, Frank Ilaboya, Dahiru Sadi and Austin Popo, Club Owners’ chieftains Isaac Danladi and Alloy Chukwuemeka and other stakeholders.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, House of Reps’ Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Niger Delta Development Commission MD Nsima Ekere, parliamentarian Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, JAMB Registrar Professor Ishaq Oloyede, wrestler Odunayo Adekuoroye and Nollywood stars Richard Mofe-Damijo and Sola Sobowale were among those also honoured on the night.