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SPORT: Nwosu, others lament as Nigerians miss CAF awards

SPORT: Nwosu, others lament as Nigerians miss CAF awards

Publish date: 2022-07-12 23:23:31 | Author: Ebenezer Bajela | Source: punchng.com

Football stakeholders say the omission of winger Moses Simon from the CAF final short list for the men’s best player award is a sign that Nigerian football was in decline, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The Confederation of African Football on Sunday released a star-studded final list of nominees for the men’s categories of the CAF Awards 2022, with Senegal and reigning African Player of The Year Sadio Mane, Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, and Mohamed Salah (Egypt) among others all making the final short list ahead of the Nigerian.

Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi, Karl Toko Ekambi from Cameroon as well as Ivory Coast’s Sebastien Haller were selected ahead of the Nantes player, to the surprise of some of the country’s football followers.

Simon had a decent outing at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon earlier this year, claiming the Man of The Match award once before Nigeria got knocked out of the competition.

He also helped his French club end their 42-year wait to win the Coupe de France title by playing a crucial role.

But the 27-year-old’s performance in the year under review was not enough to earn him a place on the final list.

Speaking with PUNCH Sports Extra, former Eagles star Henry Nwosu said, “The omission of our players from the CAF final list goes to show that our players are not doing enough and are not working hard to merit their nomination.

“It also goes to show that our football has gone down a little bit, such that we now have to work so hard to get the results. We must improve on our players and the team collectively, this is very important, otherwise the game will continue to go down, which isn’t good for us.”

Another former international Sylvanus Okpala added, “In this situation, players whose team made it to the quarter-finals or semi-finals of the last Africa Cup of Nations have more advantage than those who got knocked out in the group stage or second round.

“I think if (Victor) Osimhen was at the last AFCON he could have gotten a chance of being nominated and he could still have been in the race because he did relatively well. Missing the AFCON was a huge blow for him and I think he would have been the one who could have made a difference.

“Nigeria has not done very well in men’s football, we got knocked out of the AFCON in the second round and collectively we were poor. Also, we didn’t qualify for the World Cup, which gave an edge to those who did.”

Regarded as Super Falcons’ most successful coach, Ismaila Mabo simply said, “If anybody says our football is in decline I will agree with them.”

Nigeria used to be dominant in the CAF best player award final shortlist from the 1970s to the 1990s, with Rashidi Yekini (1993), Emmanuel Amuneke (1994), Victor Ikpeba (1997) and Nwankwo Kanu (1996 and 1999) all winning it.

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