Chelsea winger and Nigeria forward Victor Moses heads the 11-man nominees for the 2017 CAF Player of the Year award, with his fellow Super Eagles’ teammate William Troost-Ekong omitted from the list.
Also, Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala tops the five-man shortlist for the Women’s Player of the Year, with Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr leading the nominees for the Coach of the Year award.
The Eagles, who will be appearing at the World Cup for the sixth time in Russia next year, could leisurely climb onto the podium to receive the National Team of the Year crown after they were shortlisted for the award alongside African champions Cameroon, Egypt, Zambia’s U-20 team and Mali’s U17 side.
CAF last month named Moses and Troost-Ekong in its 30-man list for the elite award (dominated by players plying their trade outside Africa) while their compatriot Junior Ajayi, who plies in Egypt with Al Ahly, was named in the second -tier category of the African Player of the Year- based in Africa.
But on Monday the African football governing body left Turkey-based defender Troost-Ekong out of the shortlist for the top award, naming Chelsea wing-back Moses along with Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, in-form Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, Liepzig powerful midfielder Naby Keita and Liverpool wing star Sadio Mane on its new shortlist.
Others are Cameroon’s Porto forward Vincent Aboubakar, Monaco’s Balde Keita, Feyenoord’s Karim Al Ahmadi, Porto’s Yacine Brahimi, Mamelodi Sundowns’ Denis Onyango and Lyon’s Bertrand Traore.
Moses, whose three goals during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers helped Nigeria seal their berth at Russia 2018, appears to have Egypt’s Salah as the only serious challenger for the title. Salah, who joined Liverpool from Roma during the summer transfer market, guided Egypt to their first World Cup since 1990. He has scored 10 Premier League goals for the Reds this term.
Senegal’s Mane also poses a threat to Premier League winner Moses’ quest for the title. Inconsistent Gabon French-born striker Aubameyang has a mountain to climb to win the award after he failed to guide his country to Russia – and unable to help Dortmund much in the German Bundesliga after scoring 11 goals this season. Aubamenyang won the gong in 2015.
The late Rashidi Yekini was the first Nigerian to win the award in 1993. Emmanuel Amuneke won the 1994 title while Nwankwo Kanu won it in 1996. Victor ikpeba won the crown in 1997 while Kanu landed the title in 1999, which was the last time a Nigerian grabbed the gong.
National team coaches or technical directors and 10 members of the Independent media and TV consultants group will now vote for the best player as well as national team captains.
China-based attacker Oshoala, who helped Dalian Quanjian win the Chinese Women’s Super League title recently, faces a weak challenge from South Africa’s Chrestina Kgatlana, Cameroon’s Gabrielle Aboudi, Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Makore and Malawi’s Tabitha Chawinga for the women’s crown. Oshoala won the title in 2014 and 2016.
Rohr faces Hector Cuper (Egypt), Hugo Broos (Cameroon), L’Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Athletic Club) and Mihayo Kazembe (TP Mazembe) for the Coach of the Year award.
The awards gala has been scheduled to hold on January 4 in Accra, Ghana.