CAF PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nigeria and Barcelona Ladies forward, Asisat Oshoala who was named Africa’s Best Female Player for the fourth time at the CAF Awards ceremony in Egypt on Tuesday night almost missed the opportunity of emulating her compatriot, Perpetua Nkwocha but for vote of foreign media practitioners.
A review of the vote pattern of the three Nigerian officials that took part in the process leading to the selection of the 2019 winner of the coveted title showed how they ignored the Super Falcons captain, preferring instead to cast their votes for others.
In the first phase of voting conducted amongst technical committee members, the Barcelona star missed five votes as NFF member and head of its Technical Committee, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, did not vote.
That slip from the NFF official gave Cameroon’s Ajara Nchout, a 14-point gap over Oshoala.
However, foreign media practitioners who value Oshoala’s contribution to both Nigeria and Barcelona Ladies in the year under review, voted in her favour.
Oshoala was ignored by NFF Reform Committee member, Osasu Obayiuwana, former Super Falcons’ Media Officer, Chisom Mbonu Ezeoke and Backroom Staff of Super Eagles Head Coach, Tunde Adelakun.
Obayiuwana voted Oshoala third in his choice of five on the Media Platform. The first choice of the former BBC African Service reporter was Malawian player Tabitha Chawinga, who plys her trade with Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Women’s Super League.
Ezeoke who is a SuperSport anchor, also voted Chawinga first, while Oshoala got her vote for a second place.
Adelakun opted for South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana as his first choice with Oshoala as second choice.
In the vote cast by legends of the game in the continent, Perpetua Nkwocha, who won the title four times between 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011 voted Oshoala last, giving her just a point. Nkwocha gave her five points to Ajara Nchout of Cameroon.
But Oshoala came out shinning to her fourth title polling 351 overall. Her earlier titles were in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
Thembi Kgatlana secured 247 votes while Ajara Nchout got 331 votes.
NFF’s Technical Committee Chairman, Fresh however defended himself on why he did not vote for any of the candidates, including Nigeria’s Oshoala.
He revealed that he did not get any nomination form, even by email from CAF.
Fresh who is a Technical Committee member of CAF said he was apparently not included on the list of qualified voters. He is one of about four other eminently qualified persons who were sidelined.
Speaking on her fourth CAF honour yesterday, Oshoala who was absent at the ceremony said she was grateful to those who voted for her.
“Grateful to be African Women’s Player of the year for the 4th time,” she wrote on her official Twitter page on Wednesday morning.
“Thank God, my Family, Friends and Fans for the support. Big shoutout to my club (Barcelona), my management, teammates at both national team and club level and of course thanks to CAF for the opportunity.
“4 times baby!!! Sometimes you forget to smell the roses along the way in life. I’m always the type thinking about my next move and never really stop and celebrate the things in between.
“This is such an amazing accomplishment and I’m happy. But there’s still work to do,” Oshoala gushed on the twitter message.