Why a Nigerian may not be crowned BBC African footballer for the year, 2013.

Filed under: Sports Issues |

The BBC African Footballer of the Year is an annual award given to the best African footballer of the year as voted by football fans all over the continent of Africa. The award kick-started in 1992 as the BBC African Sports Star of the Year award with Ghanaian footballer Abedi Pele (Marseille) wining the inaugural edition, before metamorphosing into its current form. Players are selected by a poll of football journalist from every country in Africa, a shortlist of five players is announced -from which the public determines who goes home with the prize for the calendar year.

Nigerian contingents have featured greatly on this stage in time past, with the likes of Emmanuel Amuneke (1996/Sporting/Barcelona), and Jay-Jay Okocha (2003/Bolton Wanderers and in 2004/ Bolton Wanderers) and Kanu Nwankwo (1997/Internazionale and in 1999/Arsenal) both scoring brace in the race to the award.

The last time a Nigerian won it was in 2004, so for the past nine years Nigerian players have been in hibernation, experiencing a serious drought while other African nation hold sway. This is the first in a long time a Nigerian player actually have a serious shot at getting the title. Will it happen for the African most populated nation? Is yet to be seen!

Since the award recipient will be determined by fans in Africa, never hold your breath thinking sentiment will be ruled out of votes, especially in Nigeria. The only neutrals may be those who cherish a particular player for his massive talent and dedication in the field of play. Fans will screen players based on different parameters –most will be voting for their country man and others will be voting according to the club side they support.

Nigeria remains the only country with two superstars on the list which will definitely divide the votes that will come for the Nigerian representative and secondly, fans vote will be divided according to club they support. People who support Chelsea will pitch their tent with Mikel and others to Moses of Liverpool. I fear other nation with one representative will have the edge in this race.

The highlight of the two Nigerian contingents are in this year’s Nations Cup; Mikel and Moses were the twosome that rallied to get Nigeria the trophy that have eluded them for the past 19 years. Mikel also went ahead to rule Europe with Chelsea Football Club and finally scored in the English premier League competition in his 185th game for the Blues against Fulham.

While for the wing wizard Moses, scoring has never been an issue for the 22 year old. Though on a season-long loan to Liverpool where he never find difficulty settling. His contribution to Nations Cup was something of a miracle, one may not be wrong to say he led Nigeria to the promise land.

The nominees for this year award are: Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast, and Manchester City (England); the duo of John Obi Mikel, and Victor Moses of Nigeria, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively (England); Jonathan Pitroipa of Burkina Faso and Rennes (France) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Garbon and Borrusia Dortmund (Germany). Pitroipa and Aubameyang are earning their first nomination for the award and remains the first nominee from their respective countries. The most interesting thing however is, that neither of the nominees for this year has ever won it.

Who will win the 2013 prestigious BBC African footballer of the year award? Who is the outstanding performer for this year award?

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