Lagos – Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi on Friday expressed disappointment that Mikel Obi failed to clinch the Glo/CAF African Footballer of the Year Awards.
Abdulahi, made the remark in an interview in Lagos.
He said that Yaya Toure of Cote d’Ivoire considered all the nominees in the category as worthy contenders in spite of the fact that he beat Obi to the second position.
The minister said: “I was hopeful that Mikel was going to win but it’s okay, he still has a long way to go; I mean there will be other opportunities.
“But I can assure you that Mikel is the winner because every Nigerian in this hall wanted him to win.
“I think that’s a good indication. For me that’s enough reason to celebrate. I congratulate Yaya Toure. In fact, he’s a great footballer.
“He’s an excellent footballer; he deserves the award. Yeah, we feel disappointed that Mikel didn’t win but better luck, next time.
“ They are a new team, and they have done well enough to qualify for the first time in our history for the CHAN.
“I just will urge them to go to the tournament they are there in South Africa and do their best.
“So I think it’s a good one for us that they are competing at all at the tournament,’’ he said.
The minister urged the home-based Super Eagles now in South Africa for African Football Championship to strive hard in the competition scheduled to run from, Jan. 11 to Feb. 1.
Super Eagles won the best National Team award while Coach Stephen Keshi also clinched the Coach of the Year award.
Kelechi Iheanacho won the most promising talent in 2013 and Golden Eaglets also went home with the best national youth team award.
The awards ceremony was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Thursday. (NAN)