Africa player of the year award is the most prestigious African honour an African player can attain during his active years of play. The award was presented by France Football Magazine from 1970 to 1992 to the best player who had the most impact in that year, regardless of where he was playing. In 1993, the French Football Magazine named Abedi Pele the best player i993 and George Weah in 1994, conversely CAF had a different winner for those years Rashidi Yekini and Emmanuel Amunike were named the best players in 1993 and 1994 respectively.
For this controversy’s sake, the French Football Magazine withdrew its participation in issuing the award, and CAF took over officially in 1995.
Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast and Samuel Eto remain the only players to have won the award four times in history.
Only Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has won as a non-English Premier League representative since 2011. All other players who won it had their stints in EPL.
Furthermore, the last four times the award has been won, Sadio Mané and Liverpool team-mates Mohamed Salah won all four as players from Liverpool.
Only Yaya Toure has won the award four times in a row from 2011 to 2014, and he is the only player to be crowned the winner with a single club four times.
Emmanuel Amunike is one of the three players who have won the award the same year their National team won the Africa Cup of Nations.
Emmanuel Amunike (1994) was decorated as the best player in Africa, the same year the Super Eagles of Nigeria won the AFCON 1994. He beat George Weah of Liberia and Compatriot Rashidi Yekini to claim the Award. He was at Sporting CP in Portugal when he was crowned. In 1995 and 1996 two Nigerians Kanu Nwankwo and Victor Ipkeba retained the award. Kanu Nwankwo later won it in 1999 and was the last time a Nigerian player reached such a climax.
Patrick Mboma of Cameroon and Sadio Mané of Senegal have also reached this peak in history.
Although in the 90s, Super Eagles players were competitive in the individual award. From 1994 to 1999 a Nigerian player finished in the last three and not until 2003 and 2004 when Jay Jay Okocha finished as a 3rd candidate to Samuel Eto and Didier in both years.
It took another 9 years before a Nigerian made the final three in 2013 when Mikel lost the first spot to Ivorian Midfielder Yaya Toure and in 2014 Vincent Enyeama finished 3rd in that year.
It’s been 8 years now and no Nigerian player has made the last three. And it’s been 23 years since a Nigerian player attained this climax.
Emmanuel Amunike and Kanu Nwankwo and Victor Ipkeba are the only compatriots to have won the award, meanwhile, Segun Adeggbami, Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amunike, Kanu Nwankwo, Jay Jay Okocha, Daniel Omokachi, Victor Ikpeba, Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Mikel Obi and Vincent Enyeama are the only Nigerians to make the top three since its inauguration in 1970.
Simon Moses was the only Super Eagles player to make the provisional list of 30 players this year which was released by CAF. He was later dropped when the list was streamlined to ten players.
Although many Nigerians are optimistic that Napoli Talisman Victor Osimhen is likely to reach the climax of this award should he continue his terrific form.
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