BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Apart from Asisat Oshoala who was named the African Woman Footballer of the Year and the Al Ahly Nigerian playmaker, Oluwafemi Ajayi better known as Junior Ajayi, Nigerians were relegated to the status of spectators as nine awards were rolled out at the 26th edition of CAF Awards in Accra on Thursday night.
Even Junior Ajayi did not win individual award as his category of nomination – the Footballer of the Year Based in Africa – had been scrapped. He however included in the Fans’ Finest XI as a mid fielder.
All the big names in the Super Eagles were glaring absentees as award after awards were being dished out. Even Victor Moses who was among the last five in contention for the African Footballer of the Year could not make the African XI.
The coach, Gernot Rohr who had an unbeaten run in the World Cup qualifier and also raised a team that humiliated the African champions, Cameroon, 4-0 in Uyo lost out in the Coach of the Year Award.
The winner was the Argentine coach of Egypt, Hector Cuper whose team became the second to qualify for the World Cup after that of Gernot Rohr. He however led Egypt to the runners-up position in the Africa Cup of Nations held earlier in the year under consideration.
The Nigerian U-20 Women’s team also lost to South Africa in the Women’s National Team of the Year while the Super Eagles lost to Egypt in the men’s category.
The Egyptians were the dominants at the awards ceremony winning the topmost award of African Footballer of the Year, the Coach of the Year as well as the national team of the year.
Two of their nationals also made the Finest XI team. The Egyptians may as well appropriate Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi who plays in the Egyptian league to bring to three, players of Egyptian connection in the 11-man squad.