By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international, Tijani Babangida, has expressed his disappointment that Super Eagles and Chelsea forward, Victor Moses, did not make the final three-man short-list for the 2017 CAF Player of the Year award, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
On Monday, in Accra, Ghana, CAF revealed the three players that made the final three-man shortlist for the award.
With Moses dropped, the three players who made the cut were Egypt and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah; Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striekr Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr was included in the Coach of the Year category while the Super Eagles made the men’s National Team of the Year category.
For the Women’s Player of the Year , Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala is in the running, while Nigeria’s U-20 women’s team, the Falconets are in the final shortlist for the Women’s National Team of the Year.
Reacting to Moses’ omission from the CAF Player of the Year final shortlist, Babangida who represented Nigeria at the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations and France 1998 World Cup, described it as unfortunate.
“I was very surprised with Moses’ omission because even if he was not going to win the CAF Footballer of the Year award, at least he should be in the final three-man shortlist,” Babangida told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“The votes have been made and he has been voted out while the other players got enough votes to still be in the race. Very unfortunate.”
Babangida who was in the Nigeria U-23 Eagles squad that won gold in the football event of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, hinted on what might have cost Moses a place in the final short-list.
“Moses did very well, both in the national team and for Chelsea as well,” Babangida told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“But Moses had been out for sometime due to injury which also saw him being out of the national team. Some players think that not always playing for your country doesn’t really matter, but it does.
“All the awards Cristiano Ronaldo has been winning is as a reasult of his performances for both Portugal and Real Madrid. So the moment you are playing for your country and not missing friendly matches, together with your club performances, you definitely stand a chance. And I feel that was what affected Moses and at the end of the day. He was in and out, no thanks to injury.”
And on who among the three-man nominees stand a chance of being crowned 2017 CAF Player of the Year, the former Ajax winger said: “Looking at the present form which is very important, a player like Aubameyang is doign very well but sometimes he is on and off. But for someone like Mohamed Salah, he is a little bit in the eyes of the world. And he has been doing very well and the fact that he plays in the English Premier League which is the most televised league in the world.
“If you ask some people who is the captain of Dortmund, they don’t know. But everybody is seeing Salah everyday and I feel players in the English league have more advantage when it comes to winning individual awards.
“So, presently, Salah is above every other players. But we never know what the judges of the CAF award will want to look at. But for me, I think Salah at the moment with his present form which is helping Liverpool and also helping Egypt qualify for the 2018 World Cup, stand a very good chance of winning the award.”