Chelsea star Victor Moses was left out as the Confederation of African Football announced the three finalists for this year’s African Player award. Nigeria then has to wait till another year to win the award, after Nwankwo Kano picked it in 1999.
It’s not only a miss to be rued by Nigeria, but also players in the defensive positions.
The snub of Moses came as a surprise to many, after a successful s season during which he won his first league title with Chelsea. He also played pivotal role in Nigeria’s qualifying campaign towards Russia 2018.
Moses, traditionally a forward, featured in a new position, playing as right-wing back, after a tweak in the Chelsea team. He has been a mainstay playing in his new role, and his absence has usually created an obvious vacuum.
After making the list of the five players before the final three were named, the winger was the only player in a defensive role, with being attacking players. His omission further accentuates the concerns that defenders and defensive role players are gradually phasing out on winning major individual awards for their outstanding performance.
At Chelsea last season, the 27-year-old, played a vital role in what could be described as his best season as a footballer featuring 34 times in new roles as Chelsea marched to the league title, getting involved in 4 goals (2 goals, 2 assists) and forming a formidable defence line for the Blues,
The former Wigan winger has as much as made the new position his fortress, with new signing Zappacosta unable to hold down the right-wing back position in his absence, showing the level of his importance to the Stamford Bridge outfit.
At the international level, Moses was heavily involved in a young Gernot Rohr side, pulling off great performances as Nigeria secured a ticket to their 6th World Cup appearance in Russia.
While the abilities of the final three CAF nominees cannot be taken away from them, a final trio list with Victor Moses, Mo Salah and any of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang or Saido Mane would have seemed more suitable and appreciative of the player’s abilities.
Mohammad Salah has definitely staked his claim, and he’s outright favourite to win the award, after recently claiming the BBC African Player of the year award, in what has been a magnificent year for the Egyptian, leading the Pharaohs to their first World Cup appearance after over two decades and currently lies atop in the English topflight as the highest goal scorer with 14 goals in 18 outings.
On the other hand, the duo of Aubameyang and Senegalese forward Mane also flourished across the year but choosing one of the two might have represented a balance for the good of African football.
Last year’s winner Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scored a blistering 40 goals in 46 appearance and has already picked up the pace this season with 21 goals in as many matches also recently surpassing Tony Yeboah’s record in the Bundesliga, while Mane was instrumental in Liverpool’s charge for the top four in the EPL, also leading Senegal to the World Cup.
Defenders have had to do with enjoying less fame – unlike their attacking-role scoring counterparts -for their work done, with the exception of Cannavaro who won the Ballon d’Or in 2006 – the first and probably the last.
Notwithstanding, awards are given to defenders, but it only represents and recognises them among players in their roles, and not among the majority of elite players in all positions especially those in the attacking roles.
Victor Moses would definitely rue his omission from the CAF final list, and would expect a better luck next time, but his absence definitely stamps the fact that only attacking players are recognised for their feats.
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