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Nigerian players not good enough for BBC awards

By Jacob Ajom
For the umpteenth time, no Nigerian footballer was among the five nominees for the 2009 BBC African Footballer of the year award.

According to the list released on BBC’s African football programme, Fast Track, Ivorian and Chelsea star, Didier Drogba, topped the nominees that included, Ghana international, Michael Essien, Cameroonian skipper, Samuel Eto’o, Tresor Mputu Mbai of Zaire and Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure.

The Orange CAF Champions league match between Heartland FC of Owerri and TP Mazembe FC of Congo DR held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, Heartland FC won 2-0. L-R, Tshizeu Kanymbo of TP Matembe FC of Congo DR contesting the ball with John Owoeri of Heartland FC of Owerri. Photo by Sylva Eleanya.
The Orange CAF Champions league match between Heartland FC of Owerri and TP Mazembe FC of Congo DR held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, Heartland FC won 2-0. L-R, Tshizeu Kanymbo of TP Matembe FC of Congo DR contesting the ball with John Owoeri of Heartland FC of Owerri. Photo by Sylva Eleanya.

The last Nigerian who was nominated and eventually won the award was Austin Jay Jay Okocha back in 2003 and 2004.

The latest nominations go a long way in establishing the fact that no Nigerian player is among the best in the continent. In fact, many are not highly rated.

Some of the names like Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and Michael Essien have been regular nominations as they have consistently performed well over the years.

Drogba and Essien ply their trade in England with Chelsea and have been instrumental to Coach Carlo Ancelloti’s success story at the club. Interestingly, Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi plays along with them.

Tressor Mputu Mbai plays with CAF Champions League winners, TP Mazembe, and was in the heart of the squad that defeated Heartland of Owerri in the final.

Last year Egyptian international, Mohammed Aboutrika, who helped his club, Al Ahly of Egypt to win the CAF Champions League and country to win the 2008 Nations Cup in Ghana bagged the prestigious award.

BBC Fast Track presenter, Farayi Mungazi said: “This award is all about performance over the last twelve months, so only two of last year’s contenders have made it onto the list, with no place for Adebayor or Aboutrika.

Eto’o and Drogba are also among the ten shortlisted for the European Footballer of the Year Award.

The prestigious award is the only one of its kind to be decided ultimately by the fans.


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