The Nigeria Football Federation and Nigerian Breweries Plc on Friday exchanged an agreement that both parties happily called ‘a minimum five –year contract’ – a bold statement that the relationship would last much longer.
At an impressive ceremony in the expansive grounds of the brewing giant in Lagos, laced with applaudable innovation and flowing remarks, and compered by Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st, NFF President Amaju Pinnick and NB Plc’s Managing Director/CEO Jordi Borrut Bel pledged the total commitment of their establishments to every letter of the contract.
A buoyant Pinnick restated his position that NB Plc is “an organization that has been a torch –bearer of excellence and corporate social responsibility for the several decades it has operated in Nigeria,” while Bel reiterated: “We are indeed delighted about this partnership between Nigerian Breweries plc and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). This relationship provides us an opportunity to celebrate the true Nigerian spirit that is fuelled by patriotism, passion and desire for victory, through the platform of Football.”
The agreement makes Star Lager the ‘Official Alcoholic Drink of the Super Eagles’ while Amstel Malta is now the ‘Official Malt Drink of the NFF and the National Teams,’ including Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup –bound Super Eagles.
Pinnick said: “There were other companies that were interested in these categories but once Nigerian Breweries landed, they landed with conviction, with panache and with finality. We are happy to be involved with them, and I must praise Pamodzi Sports Marketing chairman Mike Itemuagbor, as well as Mitchell Obi and Ejiro Omonode for the roles they played in actualizing this wonderful relationship.
“The NFF is delighted to be in this relationship, and we want to assure you that Nigerian Football will meet your expectations all round.”
With 10 former Nigeria captains watching and the crème de la crème of Nigerian Football administration seated, it was no surprise when NB Plc’s Marketing Director, Franco Maria Maggi declared: “We are not thinking of five years for this partnership. We are thinking of eternity. It is a dream that we have nursed for a long time. It is the ideal thing for Nigerian Breweries to partner with Nigerian Football. We are keen to win with Nigeria.”
Pinnick, alongside NFF 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi, 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko and Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel Ikpeme signed a Nigerian jersey which was handed over to Bel, while Bel, Maggi and NB Plc’s Corporate Affairs Adviser, Kufre Ekanem signed another which was handed to Pinnick. The NFF later presented customized jerseys to NB Plc’s triumvirate.
NB Plc is set to commit the sum of N450million to the relationship every year, but Itemuagbor, a sports marketing titan who had brokered several relationships for Nigerian Football over the decades, said: “The important thing is not just the amount of money being paid as rights fee; it is the activation of the contract, which Nigerians Breweries and ourselves as the Sponsorship Agency are committed to doing in a big way.”
Former Nigeria captains Olusegun Odegbami, Henry Nwosu, Peter Rufai, Augustine Eguavoen, Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi, Mutiu Adepoju, Garba Lawal and Ann Chiejine, as well as award –winning former Super Falcons’ forward Okunwa Igunbor witnessed the occasion.
Also at the event were NB Plc’s top hierarchy; sports marketing gurus Mitchell Obi (also AIPS Vice President/President for Africa), Ejiro Omonode and Taye Ige; Chairman of the Sokoto State Football Association, Mohammed Nasir Saidu; NFF Director of Communications Ademola Olajire; NFF’s Assistant Director (Finance) Sule Bako; NFF’s Head of Marketing Alizor Chuks; NFF Marketing and Sponsorship Committee member Colin Udoh and; frontline sports editors/managers led by Editors Guild president Tony Ubani.
There were also AIPS Africa 1st Vice President Mourad Moutawaqil; Chris Mbaisi (President, Sports Journalists Association of Kenya/Vice President AIPS Africa); Rita Aligumah (Vice President, Ugandan Sports Press Association) and; celebrated photojournalist Fliss Mohamed from Tunisia. STA Mobile’s Biodun Jagun and Tokunbo Awoyinka were also there.