Former Super Eagles captain Austin Okocha has said that Nigeria has the potential to dominate future CAF Africa Player of the Year Awards, Complete Sports reports.
He pointed out that this is not mere talk as Nigeria has a crop of young, skillful and exciting players who are capable of this feat.
He made these comments after the Glo-CAF Awards 2016 that had no Nigerian in the top three shortlist since Mikel Obi lost to Yaya Toure.
“It is not fair that no Nigerian player has been able to win the African footballer of the year since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999. We have come close on some occasions but we will get there soon,” Okocha, who came close to winning the award in 1998 and 2004, said.
“I see the likes of young Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Troost Ekong, Victor Osimhen and others winning future African player of the year awards. It is a generation thing; our generation dominated Africa then we missed out for long. We’ll be there again.
“Iwobi, Iheanacho and other up-and-coming youngsters will definitely climb the rostrum as African footballer of the year in say two to three years’ time. I am positive about this.”
Algeria and Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez won the 2016 award on Thursday in Abuja, a verdict former Nigeria captain Okocha agrees with.
“Mehrez deserved to win the 2016 award because he won the league with Leicester in England and was voted player of the year. He is the first African to win such award in the EPL,” the ex-PSG and Bolton midfielder added.