By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international, Etim Esin, has played down the chances of Super Eagles stars Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho emerging as 2016 CAF Africa Player of the Year.
On Saturday, CAF released a list of 30 players for this year's award and included the three Nigerians.
Among the players names include: Algeria and Leicester City forward, Riyad Mahrez, current Africa Player of the Year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Borussia Dortmund, Cote d' Ivoire and Manchester United defender, Eric Bailly and Mohamed Salah of Egypt and AS Roma.
Nigeria duo of Chisom Chikatara and Mfon Udoh were nominated for African Player of the Year Based in Africa.
Reacting on the nominees, Esin told Completesportsnigeria.com that Iheanacho stands a good chance of winning the award but will have to wait a little longer.
"For Iheanacho I think it's still too early," former Super Eagles midfielder said. "Mikel has tried, he came second behind Yaya Toure. And for Musa, is he playing regularly? Has he scored for Leicester? The answer is no.
"Iheanacho has a future, he is still an up and coming star. The best bet would have been Iheanacho but he still has to improve. Let's give him one or two years, he might be up there."
The former Flying Eagles star however tipped Riyad Mahrez as the likely winner of the award.
"Riyad Mahrez did well to help Leicester win the league last season which is a very big plus for him.
"It is possible he wins it because it has been long time a player from North Africa won the award," Esin added.