Two-time Confederation of African Football Player of the Year Kanu Nwankwo has tipped Super Eagles and Chelsea FC midfielder John Obi Mikel for the 2013 title.
Globacom/CAF Gala night returns to Lagos on 9th January 2014 and a confirmation of the nominees is much expected from now with Victor Moses, another Nigerian in contention.
The former Super Eagles captain, Nwankwo was the last Nigerian to clinch the annual award, while a large number of Francophone West Africans have dominated the award from 2001- starting with Samuel Eto’o Fills.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Yaya Toure, who plays for Manchester United, won the last two editions of the award.
Kanu told KickOffNigeria.com that Mikel, and teammate, Moses, have done enough to return the crown to Nigeria.
“I think for me Mikel should win it this year or Victor Moses. They had a great Nations Cup and won the Europa League with their club,” Kanu, who won the award in 1994 and 1999, said.
“And then if you look at Mikel’s performance at the Fifa Confederations Cup, he was simply outstanding, so I believe he should win it.”
Since Kanu and Victor Ikpeba (1997) picked up the best player’s gong, the closest any Nigerian has come was Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha’s runner up position in 2004.
The ex-Bolton Wanderers playmaker believes with the level of hard work showcased by Nigerian players they can be the best.
“I think the players have to prove themselves like they are doing now and I am happy that Stephen Keshi is encouraging them to play at their best,” Okocha told KickOffNigeria.com.