CAF Awards: Ex-Super Falcons captain Nkwocha, others criticised for ‘betraying’ Oshoala

Asisat Oshoala, Super Falcons forward [Photo: FIFA]
Asisat Oshoala, Super Falcons forward [Photo: FIFA]

Over 72 hours after the 2019 CAF Awards were completed, many Nigerians are yet to come to terms on the reason why all five individuals selected from the country failed to make Asisat Oshoala their first choice for the Player of the Year award in the Women category.

No Nigerian made it to the finals in the men’s category where Sadio Mane finished ahead of Liverpool teammate Mohammed Salah and Riyad Mahrez.

With Oshoala standing a realistic chance of a fourth Player of the Year Award, many had expected her to get the full backing of her compatriots but that was not the case as reflected in the voting pattern made public by CAF.

Five Nigerians had the privilege to vote but none picked Oshoala as their first choice.

One of the five, NFF Technical Committee member, Ahmed Yusuf, did not cast his vote.

Oshoala thus lost five valuable votes in the first phase of the voting conducted among technical committee members.

Mr Yusuf, nicknamed Fresh, who is also the Niger State FA Chairman claimed he was disenfranchised by CAF as the body failed to send documents to his email address to vote accordingly.

Even though Oshoala made up with massive votes from the media, she did not get maximum support from the three Nigerian journalists who voted.

Osasu Obayiuwana, a member of the NFF Reforms Committee, voted Oshoala third in his choice of five.

His first choice was Malawian footballer with Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Women’s Super League, Tabitha Chawinga.

The widely travelled journalist, while congratulating Oshoala for winning the continent’s top prize yet again, said he remains convinced of his choice of Tabitha.

Osasu, in trying to defend himself, tweeted this;

“Congratulations to her, on yet another title. But in my opinion, Tabitha Chawinga is the best woman footballer in Africa, bar NONE.

“The only reason she is not winning the AFOTY title is that she’s Malawian. And they don’t play in the AFCON tournament.

“I didn’t make my CAF Awards selections based on whether the nominee is from Nigeria or not.

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“I voted based on whether I think, on the facts available to me, they are the best in Africa at the present time.”

With the backlash that has come from everywhere, especially the media, Osasu added:

“Right… I understand that some members of @nigeria’s media are unhappy that I didn’t vote for @asisato1 to become the @CAF_Online AFOTY. That’s a shame. But I am NOT obliged to vote for her.”

Another Nigerian journalist and a member of the NFF Reforms Committee who voted, Chisom Mbonu, also made Tabitha her first choice while Oshoala was her second choice.

The third Nigerian who voted on the platform of media, Tunde Adelakun, also made Oshoala his second choice; picking South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana ahead.

Of all the voters, Nigerians appeared to be more displeased with former Falcons captain, Perpetua Nkwocha, who surprisingly made Oshoala her last choice.

While some feel Nkwocha may have mixed things up, others feel the former striker deliberately voted against Oshoala.

Nkwocha on her Facebook page posted a congratulatory message to Oshoala but it was greeted with comments labelling her a hypocrite.

“I remember vividly when you were asked in an interview who you looked up to as a young star and you called my name and I smiled😂😂because I’ve seen you play😂😂. Hmmm what do you do if Messi says he looks up to you?? You just 😊😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂Congratulations Star girl

Make and break the records girl

The world at your feet,” she wrote.

“Hypocrisy is Nigerian we understand. Well done ma,” a fan replied Nkwocha.

Another wrote: “Unfortunately, this shows you didn’t vote for her Perpetua Nkwocha as your no 1.

“We, Nigerians, are our greatest enemy.”

Was Oshoala betrayed? Did the Nigerian voting bloc go there to work against Nigerian interests? Was Nkwocha trying to protect her record as the only person with four African Women’s Player Of The Year Awards?

These are some of the unanswered questions that have trailed the 2019 CAF Awards.


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