The triumvirate of fashion, arts and music usually coalesce to welcome a goal scored on the football pitch. As soon as a goal is scored the lucky team and its supporters explode in an orgy of wild celebration, singing, dancing, jumping and shouting to celebrate the goal. Players may dive, remove their shirts, dance, jump, suck their thumbs, mimic animals, punch the air or even cry to profoundly express their joy when they find the net. Memories of the unspeakable joy recorded when Nigeria's dream team defeated soccer powers Brazil and Argentina before winning the Olympic Gold medal in 1996 are still very fresh in people's memories.
All these exciting elements were manifestly and palpably present last Thursday at the gala night held to mark the 2016 GLO Caf Awards. Indeed, there was no difference between the field of play and the hall of fame where the gala held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja. The feeling was real and the atmosphere was thick with different patterns of fashion, diverse genres of musical performances and variegated expressions of art in its purest and sublime form.
Colourfully attired patriots and soccer afficionados 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. Gordons wore a smart brown double breasted suit with matching brown shoes and tie while Jocelyn looked divine in a shimmering green gown that complemented the decor and ambience of the venue.
Select guests spoke about the event which they unanimously confessed had gotten better every passing year. Some of the artistes interviewed even revealed their specials for the night. The guests took tons and tons of selfies which they posted to their Twitter, Instagram or Whatsapp pages as they savoured the cocktails and choice drinks. Nigeria's Technical Adviser, Gerhad Rorh was highly sought after by journalists wanting to know the latest on the Super Eagles' quest for world cup ticket.
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 smashingly beautiful Mimi Fawaz on stage to welcome the world to the show.
A sonorous rendition of the Nigerian national anthem by Ego who also wore a green and white gown kicked off the event. Thereafter, RMD, fondly addressed by Mimi as "my James Bond for tonight" introduced the irrepressible Yemi Alade and her agile dancers. Dressed in a shiny black leather top and matching shorts, 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.
Soon after, the representative of the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr, (Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON and Companion of the Star of Ghana, CSG), Mr. Folu Aderibigbe flawlessly delivered the welcome speech which was followed by the CAF President, Alhaji Issa Hayatouwho welcomed guests to the event.
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 D'ivoire.
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.
RMD and Mimi reappeared in different attires with RMD dressed in a black African caftan complete with a bead necklace. The award of the “African Player of the Year” based in Africa was won by Dennis Onyago while the President of Guinea Bissau Football Federation, Mabuel Lopez Nacimento won the “Football Leader of the Year” award. Nigeria's President Mohamadu Buhari again bagged the “Platinum Award” for the second time running.
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.
All the artistes that performed for the night now jointly sang the Glo anthem, “Power to Win" to give the evening of sublime fun and infectious razzmatazz a befitting end. In all, the 2016 Glo CAF Awards will go down in history as one of the best organised award ceremonies in Africa.