Former Super Eagles striker and 1997 African Footballer of the Year, Victor Ikpeba, has predicted that the best African player’s crown will return to Nigeria this year.
The last Nigerian to clinch the annual award presented by Globacom is the former captain of the Super Eagles, Kanu Nwankwo, while a large number of Francophone West Africans have dominated the award from 2001.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Yaya Toure, who plays for Manchester United, won the last two editions of the award.
However, Ikpeba has tipped John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike and Sunday Mba as contenders for this year’s gong as the Confederations of African Football (CAF) makes its shortlist of players between September and October, before the final winner emerges by the end of the year.
“I think Nigeria stand a chance this year and I feel that four players, Victor (Moses), Mikel (Obi), Emmanuel (Emenike) and (Sunday) Mba are good bets for the African Player of the Year Award,” Ikpeba, speaking at the launch of Segun Odegbami’s autobiography- Me, Football and More, said.
The four players were instrumental to Nigeria’s emergence as African champions in February’s Cup of Nations, South Africa.
While Chelsea FC of England duo Mikel and Moses went on to lift the Europa Cup in May.
Such feats has been considered to have enhanced their chances as contenders when the votes are polled by members of CAF technical and media committees.