Former Super Eagles star, Victor Ikpeba has said only hard work can guarantee Nigerian players the top prize of African Footballer of the Year after failing to make the final shortlist for the just concluded 2018 award ceremony.
Ikpeba, who was crowned during the 97’ edition, revealed this on Monday Night Football, a soccer talk show which was monitored on Super Sports.
Egyptian, Mohammed Salah emerged the winner after winning the previous edition, which was contested by the same trio that Included Senegalese Sadio Mane and Gabon’s Pierre Aubameyang.
The former AS Monaco hitman who frowned over the absence of Nigeria soccer stars from the final shortlist, believed it is high time the country regained its past glory.
“It’s unfair we are unable to make the final shortlist. I was in Senegal for the award. I was lucky to meet some past winners during and after a memorial game.
“We discussed about past and present stars that has once emerged the winner. I couldn’t hold my sadness as I couldn’t find any Nigeria soccer star on the shortlist. Although, it’s not too late to regain our past glory.
“I will only urge the players to step up their game. I know we have talented footballers who are currently plying their trade across the globe. If I am not mistaken, Nwankwo Kanu, Late Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke and I are the only stars who had won the top prize.
“I believe it will be great seeing more Nigerians on the list. Let’s keep our fingers crosses and see how it goes in the next eleven months but truth be told, our players will need to work hard to get to the top.” He stated.