Former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu says Nigerian players must feature in major tournaments within and outside the continent, and also play for ‘a good club’ in order to be considered for the prestigious CAF African Footballer of the Year award again.
Coincidentally, Kanu was the last Nigerian to win the award in 1999 after previously claiming it 3 years earlier when he led Nigeria to clinch gold in the football event of the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta, USA.
“To be African Footballer of the Year, you have to play in a good club, you have to play in the Champions League, and you have to do well in the World Cup and Nations Cup,” the former Arsenal and Inter Milan star told www.busybuddiesng.com in an exclusive chat. “All those count for you to become the best player in Africa.
“We have the players, and they are young, but they have to push more, and they have to do more, especially in the World Cup. If you are there, then you know it is a place for you to do well. And when you do well, it is left for you now to win or not to win.
“But if you go out from the first stage, it is difficult.”
Despite Nigeria’s early exit from the 2018 FIFA World cup in Russia, the former Heartland forward remains optimistic a Nigerian player will win the award in the nearest future.
“Of course, we are going to see somebody who is going to win it from Nigeria, but for now, I don’t know who it is going to be.
“So we pray that that person will definitely emerge, and go out there and do us proud,” the 2-time African Footballer of the Year said.
After Kanu’s last triumph in 1999, current Super Eagles skipper, Mikel John Obi came closest to winning the award in 2013 but was beaten to the top gong by Ivorian, Yaya Toure.