Colourfully attired patriots and soccer aficionados from all over Africa thronged the exquisite ICC, Abuja to celebrate the heroes and heroines of African football in the last twenty five years.
The highly choreographed event kicked off with the green carpet. The duo of curvy Jocelyn Dumas and resourceful comedian, Gordons received guests as they sauntered into the hall.
The appetizers for the evening were Olu Jazz, Sessime and Omawumi who entertained as guests tackled and dribbled the sumptuous menu.
Dinner over, live broadcast of the event commenced with the appearance of Nollywood icon, Richard Mofe Damijo and smashing beautiful Mimi Fawaz on stage to welcome the world to the show.
A sonorous rendition of the Nigerian national anthem by Ego kicked off the event. Thereafter, RMD, introduced the irrepressible Yemi Alade and her agile dancers.
Yemi Alade teed off the show with “Nowhere be like Africa, no where be like home”. She also sang a French song to increase the tempo for the night.
The next act Muffinz, mounted the stage to dazzle the audience with acrobatic dance steps.
The group from South Africa, thrilled attendees.
At this juncture, the presentation of awards started with Uganda winning the National Team of the Year award while Nigeria won the second award of National Female Team of the Year for winning the Cup of Nations for a record ninth time.
Mamelodi Sundowns from South Africa won the Club of the Year Award.
Immediately following this set of awards was Omawumi who looked resplendent in an all black outfit.
She mounted the stage to serenade guests with a rendition of “megbele” and two other delightful tunes.
After this musical interlude, the awards continued with Nigeria’s duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi winning the awards of “Most Promising Talent” and “Youth Player of the Year.”
Pitso Mosimane of Mamelodi Sundowns won the Coach of the Year Award. The next musical interlude featured the Katapot exponent, Reekado Banks who garnished the evening with a fantastic rendition of “Oluwa ni” complemented by four beautiful female dancers.
Next were performances by the Beninoise Sessime and Diamond Platinum from Tanzania who treated the audience to songs like “From Tanzania to Lagos” and other highlife music jazzed up with Michael Jackson dance steps.
After this, the awards continued and Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala won the “Woman Player of the Year”, while Referee Bacary Gassama from Gambia won the “Referee of the Year” award for the second consecutive time.
Next was the “Legend Award” won by Cameroun’s Emile Mbou and Laurent Poku of Cote divoire.
At this juncture, one of the headline acts, Femi Kuti took the stage to thrill the audience with his ensemble of trumpeters, instrumentalists and three female dancers who twirled to the jazzy beats as he belted out tunes like “Do your best” and “One people, One world” from his yet to be released album.
Femi rounded off his classy performance that evoked fond memories of the inimitable Fela Anikulapo Kuti with “Bang, bang, bang” during the after party.
The event spiralled to its acme when the Nabania crooner, Flavour landed on stage with a live Igbo masquerade to sing “Gbo gan gbom” and thereafter did a collabo with Yemi Alade.
Flavour rolled out “Ada ada”, “It’s for money” and “Jeun soke” to prepare the continent for the final showdown between Pierre Aubameyang, Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane! At the end, Mahrez was crowned as African Football king amidst a confetti rain complemented by fireworks and flares.