Fans who were outraged that no Nigerian player made the shortlist for the 2018 BBC African Player of the Year award will be glad to see the nominees for the 2018 CAF African Player of the Year, as Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo made the cut.
The last Nigerian player to win the award was Nwankwo Kanu, and that was in 1999. So, we’re hoping one of these Nigerian players will break out of the 34-man longlist as a winner come January when the CAF Awards holds.
From becoming one of the most celebrated players at the 2018 World Cup to breaking into the Saudi Professional League, Musa has had a wonderful year. Aside from staying on top of his game for his club, Al-Nassr, he led the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2019 AFCON.
At the club level, Iwobi has been of immense help to Arsenal, earning a nomination for the club’s 'Player of the Month' award in September. At the country level, it’s safe to say Nigeria wouldn’t have made it to Russia 2018 if he hadn’t scored the goal that sealed it all for the Super Eagles.
Although he didn’t make it to Nigeria’s last 2019 AFCON qualifier, Ighalo made a name for himself by becoming one of the top scorers in the qualification tournament. That is not to mention his heroics at the club level, which made him Changchun Yatai’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
The best passer in Nigeria, Wilfred Ndidi was also nominated in the 'Youth Player of the Year' category, while Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega and Onome Ebi deservedly made the 'Women’s African Player of the Year' longlist.