I have voted for Victor Moses to be the next African Footballer of the Year after what he has achieved this year, but I have a sneaky feeling that Egypt’s Mohamed Salah could be the man on the podium for both the BBC and CAF prestigious awards.
It has been a huge year for Victor Moses – Premier League champion with Chelsea and his goals and overall play have also inspired Nigeria to a sixth World Cup finals.
Severally shipped out on loan by ‘The Blues’, Victor Moses was given his chance by new manager Antonio Conte last season in an unfamiliar right wing-back position and he took it with both hands.
He scored three goals in 34 appearances as Chelsea clinched a sixth Premier League crown.
He was even bigger with the Super Eagles after he finished as top scorer in the 2018 World Cup qualifying series with three goals and his inspirational play ensured Nigeria will feature at next year’s Mundial in Russia.
Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has already picked him as the world-class player in his team.
Mo Salah has also come big for both club and country in the year under review.
Last season, the racy 25-year-old winger or forward scored 15 goals in the Serie A for AS Roma to finish runners-up, before he joined Liverpool this season for an initial 42 million Euros.
Even before the season has reached the halfway mark, ‘The Egyptian Messi’, who Nigerian fans will remember last year for snatching a decisive last-gasp equaliser in an AFCON qualifier in Kaduna, has already been hailed as the bargain buy of the season in the Premier League.
He is the leading scorer in the Premier League and only recently became the first Liverpool player to score nine goals in his opening 12 league games.
He was also his country’s leading scorer in the World Cup qualifiers with five goals including his double strike in the home game against Congo for Egypt to win 2-1 and qualify for Russia 2018 after a 28-year absence.
The CAF Most Promising Talent of 2012 also played a big part as Egypt reached the final of AFCON 2017. He was named in the CAF Team of the Tournament after he netted twice and provided two assists.
His goals for Liverpool this season and what he achieved with Egypt at both the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers will be enough to crown him the best African Footballer for this year even though Victor Moses will push him hard for this gong.