The inaugural edition of the NFF Awards had many low moments but NFF deserve praise.
In line with NFF’s recent associations which have been of financial benefits to Nigerian football, Amaju Pinnick and his team pulled off a glamorous event which was attended by a slew of notable personalities.
The award, however, was marred by the typical Nigerian and African routine of unnecessary speeches, long music performances and lateness.
For a show that was supposed to kick off at 7 PM after an hour of cocktail and red carpet, the NFF Awards did not start until an hour later.
And when it started, they were enjoyable performances from Nigerian dancer Kaffy and singer Darey.
Then the speeches came, on God, they were long and boring. Seyi Akinwunmi, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, some officials from Aiteo.
And then the music performances again, from Patoranking, Tiwa Savage, Reekado Banks and Kiss Daniel.
The NFF had announced that the Awards will be for only 90 minutes-the period for a football match. But the tepid speeches and music performances stretched it to over three hours.
Unlike in Europe and other parts of the world, it’s really difficult to separate the football from politics as the game still largely benefits from political figures. That is why these figures are always given the utmost recognition at football awards in most parts of Africa and Nigeria.
The presence of these figures can often take away from the award ceremony and that’s what almost happened at the NFF Awards with the presence of Ambode, his Delta State counterpart Ifeanyi Okowa and his predecessors Emmanuel Uduaghan and James Ibori.
It was FIFA President Gianni Infantino that first recognised the presence of Nigerian football legends at the awards and this about an hour into the show.
Time was so far spent on pointless things that winners were not given moments to give speeches. So who was it that we were celebrating on the night?
Technical glitches also brought about cringe-worthy moments at the awards, especially during the presentations.
There is little complain about the choice of winners although the Legend 11 raised eyebrows.
But Fair Play for Remo Stars was just running the credibility of the awards into the ground.
The NFF might have forgotten that the League Management Company (LMC) organisers of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in April 2017 sanctioned Remo Stars for crowd violence in a matchday 15 fixtures.
The LMC found them guilty of harassment of match officials, access to the restricted area by unauthorised persons and assault on journalists by Stars supporters and imposed a cumulative fine of N2.5m on the club.
A Fair Play award?
With still a long way to go, the NFF in recent times have however shown good organisation in the running of their affairs and this ceremony showed they have the ideas and have made moves to implement them.
For that, I must commend them and hope they do better.