The Confederation of African Football (CAF) over the weekend released a 30-man nomination list for this year’s award, which has continue to generate reactions from stakeholders of the game.
The Chelsea midfielder took to his twitter handle to express his feelings about the nomination. “Proud for Nigeria to be nominated for @CAF_Online African Footballer of the Year along with @67Kelechi and @7Myca,” Mikel wrote on twitter.
29-year-old Mikel inspired Nigeria to win bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Nigeria’s vice-captain; Ahmed Musa made impact with CSKA Moscow as they emerged Russian champions, before his big-money move to Leicester City.
The third Nigerian on the list, Kelechi Iheanacho shone like a star in his debut Premier League season with Manchester City, and has also proved himself under new manager, Pep Guardiola in the current season.
One of the favourites for the award is current holder, Pierre Emerick Aubemeyang of Gabon and Borussia Dortmund. Others are Algerian playmaker Riyad Mahrez, who was voted the best player of the last Premier League season by his fellow professionals among others.
In all, three Algerians were nominated, just like Nigeria; Cote d’Ivoire is the other country with three nominees on the list.