No Nigerian player is left in the race to win the African Player of the Year Award (male) for 2018.
Alex Iwobi, who hitherto was the last man standing for the country, has been dropped in the last hurdle as the Confederation of African Football has released a final shortlist of three players for the continent’s top award.
The finalists announced on New Year’s Day by CAF are Iwobi’s Arsenal teammate, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and current holder Egypt’s Mohamed Salah as well as his teammate at Liverpool, Sadio Mane of Senegal.
Incidentally, the trio were also the finalists at the 2017 awards.
When the initial 34-man list was done, Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo were in the race, along with Iwobi.
The former two dropped out when the list was reduced to 10 before Iwobi became one of the seven chalked out for the final field of three.
There is however something to cheer in the women’s category as Nigeria has two candidates – Asisat Oshoala, the reigning queen and Francisca Ordega.
Both have South Africa’s Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana to contend with for the top individual prize in the Women Category.
South African forward Kgatlana, 22, was the star of the last AWCON, scooping the Most Valuable Player and Top scorer accolades as Banyana Banyana reached the final.
This is her second nomination at this level and she will be hoping to become the second South African after Noko Matlou (2008) to be crowned ‘Queen’ of African football.
All the three women footballers who are based outside the continent made the cut after a performance-filled year, which saw them make headlines at both club and national levels.
While Oshoala plays for China’s Dalian Quanjian, Ordega is featuring for Washington Spirit in the U.S.
Kgatlana also plays in the U.S., but for Houston Dash.
The award ceremony holds on Tuesday, January 8 in Dakar, Senegal.