Former Nigeria international, Segun Odegbami, has said that no player from the country deserves to be named the next CAF African Player of the Year.
The continental body has named the final five-man shortlist for the prize and they are: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane, Egypt’s Mohammed Salah and Islam Slimani
Nigeria’s trio of Kelechi Iheancho, John Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa who were all on the initial list, did not make the cut.
The list came as a result of the votes by the members of the CAF Media Committee, CAF Technical and Development Committee and half of the 20-member panel of experts.
Odegbami, writing in his CompleteSports column, said: “It is ironic that Nigeria may have one of the strongest national teams in the continent of Africa at the moment, yet the country does not have a single representative in the last five shortlisted players for the 2016 African Player of the Year Award! That speaks volumes.
“At the start of the year 2016, the Nigerian national team was in shambles. The Nigerian people had lost all confidence in an unstable team that was ‘wobbling and fumbling’ from match to match, unable to score goals, unable to win matches, unable to convince anyone that they had the same DNA as the team that had made the Super Eagles brand a globally appreciated and respected phenomenon that always entertained with glimpses of huge possibilities in world football.
“The two years preceding 2016 were ‘bad’ for Nigerian football and indigenous coaches were made to bear the brunt of responsibility for not producing a national team of class and of really outstanding players worthy to be crowned best in Africa, an award that Nigeria had completely dominated at a time not too far away in the past.
“Looking back at the past few months, even I, the unofficial leader of the anti-foreign coach for Nigeria advocacy group, is now left holding feebly to my nationalistic ideals, and looking on as a change truly has come for the national team with the introduction of a foreign coach and a few players, suddenly, have begun to look like good enough candidates to wear the coveted African crown very soon. Unfortunately, for the 2016 awards, their surge into reckoning is coming too late in the day.
“Last week, Africa made their choices and no Nigerian was shortlisted for the award, understandably. Their own time will come from 2017 when one of the present set of players dazzling beautifully in the EPL, and with several others coming up faintly in the horizon in other teams in Europe, will reclaim their lost crown and glory. I can guarantee that Victor Moses’ and Kelechi Iheanacho’s names will be high up on the list of candidates in 2017!
“That’s why I am in agreement completely with CAF’s final choice of the last five players from whom a 2016 African player of the year will be chosen.”
The award will be staged in Abuja in January 2017.
*Their legs and performances have been probably hit by Buhari times....Most of these players are there for what they can get finanacially....they cannot get anything from Bubu except a handshake.