Former Super Eagles stars Taribo West and Victor Agali have disagreed over the exclusion of Victor Moses from the final shortlist of nominees for the CAF African Player of the Year award.
The Chelsea wing-back was on Monday left out of the final nominees for the continent’s highest individual football award, which has Egypt’s Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool) as well as Gabon striker and 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund).
However, Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala, who won the Women’s Player of the Year award in 2014 and 2016, was again nominated for the award alongside Cameroon’s Gabrielle Aboud and South Africa’s Chrestina Kgatlana.
Nigeria coach Genort Rohr, Hector Cuper (Egypt) and L’Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Casablanca) made the shortlist for the coaches’ category while the Eagles, Cameroon and Egypt were nominated for the National Team of the Year award.
The Women’s National Team of the Year category has Nigeria’s U-20 women’s team, Falconets, Ghana’s U-20 team and South Africa’s national team.
However, some Nigerian football followers including Atlanta ’96 Olympics gold medallist Taribo feel that Moses deserves a place on the list judging by his performances for the Blues and the Eagles.
“Moses should have been included on the final list because he has done well for Chelsea and the national team. He helped the Eagles qualify for the World Cup and also played a major role in Chelsea winning the EPL title last season, so he deserves a place on the list,” Taribo said.
But Taribo’s teammate at the Mali 2002 AFCON, Agali, said the country had not been able to produce players like Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke, Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba – past Nigerian winners – worthy of the award.
The former Nigeria striker said, “It’s hard to judge (if Moses should be on the final list) but honestly we’ve been struggling to produce a real superstar in recent times. We have to appreciate the level of growth of other African countries and if our players want to climb the podium in Africa, they need to improve on their performances, they need to do more.
“If you look at Moses’ goal scoring record at Chelsea, it’s not as high as that of the other three nominees. It’s not even as high as that of Riyad Mahrez, the last winner of the award.
“I appreciate Moses for his contribution to the national team, professionalism and seriousness but the truth must be told. Let’s not forget that Egypt also qualified for the World Cup largely due to Salah’s performance; he’s also been outstanding for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, not just in the EPL.”
However, both ex-stars tipped Salah to win the award scheduled for Accra, Ghana, on January 4.
“I’m happy with the way Moses has been playing but I strongly don’t think he should be the African best, Salah should be. Let’s hope one day, another African player will win the world’s best player award like George Weah,” former Schalke 04 striker Agali added.
“The three nominees have done very well but I think Mo Salah should win it, he’s been scoring and his goals have been crucial for both club and country,” Taribo stated.