Odion Ighalo, the top scorer at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, who plays for Chinese clubside, Shanghai Shenhua is the only Nigerian player left in the CAF shortlist of 10 worthy players for the African Footballer of the Year .
Wilfred Ndidi and Victor Osimhen have been eliminated in the race. They were originally in the 30-man shortlist compiled by CAF. But they missed out, when the list was pruned to 10.
Ighalo will contend with nine other players: Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Liverpool, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Arsenal as well as Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool, Riyad Mahrez of Algeria and Manchester City, André Onana of Cameroon and Ajax, Hakim Ziyech of Morocco and Ajax, Ismail Bennacer of Algeria and AC Milan, Kalidou Koulibaly of Senegal and Napoli as well as Youcef Belaili of Algeria and Ahli Jeddah.
CAF said the shortlist of 10 was the result of the first phase of the voting which was done by CAF Technical & Development Committee and a panel of media experts with emphasis on the nominees’ performance in 2019.
The final phase of voting for the men’s and women’s African Player of the Year, as well as the male and female Coach of the Year, will be selected by Head Coaches/Technical Directors and Captains of senior national teams from CAF Member Associations.
In the African Women’s Player of the Year, two Nigerian players, Uchenna Kanu and Chiamaka Nnadozie were eliminated.
With the list now reduced to five, only Asisat Oshoala remains standing. She will slug it out with Ajara Nchout (Cameroon & Valerenga), Gabrielle Onguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moscow), Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Jiangsu Suning)
and Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Beijing Phoenix FC).