The decision of a Super Eagles legend Emmanuel Amuneke to select Egyptian forward, Mohamed Salah instead of Victor Osimhen as the 2023 CAF Player of the Year has angered Nigerians.
Salah and Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi presented formidable challenges to the Nigerian international, who advanced to the final three for the African Best Player of the Year title.
Because of his performance for Napoli in the Italian Serie A last season and for Nigeria in the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, the Super Eagles striker got one of the final three slots to win the male category of the CAF footballer of the year award.
African football veterans attending the ceremony were asked to select one of the three finalists in a video that CAF posted on their official X accounts.
But instead of choosing his compatriot Osimhen, former Nigerian international Emmanuel Amunike chose Egyptian player Salah.
The decision surprised Nigerians, who were dismayed that Amuneke ignored the Napoli striker to go for Mohammed Salah. Amunike coached Osimhen during the under-17 World Cup victory in 2015.
However, expressing his displeasure with Amunieke, @ojbsports wrote, “I respect Amunike’s choice as a legend.. But I’m a bit shocked if not completely that he chose Salah ahead of Osimhen that outdid Salah last season. Being a Nigerian, your first preference should be Osimhen.”
Also expressing his displeasure with Amunike, @Omojuwa wondered why the Nigerian legend opted for Mohammed Salah over Osimhen.
“This Oshoala was inexcusable. It was a straight forward thing. They desperately wanted to undermine her. Amunike played some role in Osimhen’s career so I am shocked about his Salah option. You’d expect him to pick Victor without a doubt,” he wrote.
@Ogbenipopson described Amunike’s move to pick Salah over his fellow countryman as shameful
“Amunike picked Salah ahead of Osimhen. This is shameful and disappointing,” he wrote.
On his part, @AbasibiangakeI said “Amuneke abeg tell us why you no pick your player Osimhen o.”
“Emmanuel Amunike was the Coach of Victor Osimhen at the 2015 Fifa u17 World Cup Nigeria won, there’s this goal Osimhen scored that he ran straight to go and bow before him as a massive sign of respect. Furthermore, having seen the season he had picking Salah ahead of him,” @Emmanuelojima1 wrote.
@cZrotot999 suggested that Amunike’s action further emphasizes that Nigerians hate supporting each other.
“You see the thing with Nigerian people.. They don’t support Nigerians.. And this isn’t even Asif osimhen had a bad season..he had a awesome season but that one say Na Salah…. This life ..Naso Perpetual nkwocha no pick Oshoala that year,” he wrote.
On his part, @topefowowe said that Amunike should not be allowed to coach any Nigerian team going forward.
“Amuneke should not even be considered by the @thenff as the next gaffa of our senior national team,” he wrote.
On his part, sport influencer, Pooja wondered why Amunike picked Salah over Osimhen, he suggested that a North African football legend will never jettison their own even with a gun on their head.
“I think Nigerians need to be more diplomatic & be sentimental in their choices cos there is NO POINT for Emmanuel Amunike to pick Salah over Osimhen during the CAF interview. A North African legend will never pick Osimhen in public, NEVER. They will support their own even with a guΠ on his head. But guess what, Amunike was the first person Osimhen thanked for his career,” he wrote.
@damilolaelija11 suggested that “most of the so called old generation of Nigerian footballers are jealous of the new players.”
@Yemihazan wrote, “The last time a Nigerian won the CAF award was 25 yrs ago and Amunike still didn’t vote of Osimhen, despite being an obvious front-runner… Nawa.”
However, despite Amunike’s choice, Oshimen still clinched the African footballer of the year title along with his compatriot Asisat Oshoala who won the female category of the award.