Super Eagles and Arsenal of England star, Alex Iwobi has been left out of the final three-man shortlist for the CAF African Player of the Year award as Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon made the final cut for the second year running.
The final shortlist, selected from the top 10 players listed for the prestigious Africa Player of Year Award last month was unveiled, yesterday. Salah claimed the honour last year and will be favourite again following another successful first half of the season for Liverpool.
The Egyptian will be hoping to become the fourth player to win back-to-back titles after Senegal forward, El Hadji Diouf, Cameroon striker, Samuel Eto’o and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure. Salah’s teammate, Mane from Senegal has been getting closer to the prize after finishing third in the voting in 2016 and second last year.
Gabon forward Aubameyang made the final three for the fifth time in succession, equalling the record set by Toure and former Ghana international midfielder, Michael Essien. His only victory came in 2015 when he beat Toure and Ghanaian Andre Ayew to the prize.
Notwithstanding Iwobi exclusion from final shortlist, Nigeria still has some form of representation for the CAF award as duo Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega, and South African Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana have made the final three for the Women’s Player of the Year 2018.
The three made the cut after a performance-filled year which saw them make headlines at both club and national levels. Oshoala, winner for the past two years with three titles overall (2014, 2016, 2017) has her sights on a fourth title, to equal the feat of compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha (2004, 2005, 2010, 2011). The 24-year old helped Nigeria to successively defend their title during the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) title in Ghana last December.
Ordega earned herself cult status following her exploits at the AWCON and in the USA, where she plies her trade with Washington Spirit. The 25-year old wowed fans with her pacy runs from the wings as Nigeria cruised to the title.The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Dakar, Senegal on January 8