CAF Awards: Victor Moses snub proves defenders are not given enough recognition
Nigeria's chance to produce another CAF player of the year winner will have to wait following Victor Moses' snub in the final-three nominations, but not only will Nigeria rue this miss, but so will players in defensive roles who don't score too many.
The Chelsea right wing-back has been surprisingly left out of the CAF's final three nominees for the player of the year award, after an illustrious season where he won his first league title with Chelsea and was also key in Nigeria clinching a World Cup ticket to Russia.
The player featured in a new position after a tweak in the Chelsea line-up and has been a mainstay playing in his new role, and is usually a great loss for the English champions when absent.
Odd one out
After making the list of the five players before the final trio were named, the winger was the only player featuring in a defensive role, with the rest forming a contingent of attacking players.
An omission from the last three to tug it out, firmly drives home the point that defenders and defensive players are gradually phasing out on winning major individual awards for their outstanding performance.
At Chelsea last season, 27-year-old Moses played a vital role in what could be described as his best season as a footballer, featuring 39 times in all competitions, while being deployed in numerous positions, as Chelsea marched to the league title. Moses scored a total of 4 goals in all competitions last season, and formed a formidable defence line for the Blues.
The former Wigan winger has made the new position his fortress, with new signing Davide Zappacosta seemingly unable to hold down the right-wing back position in Moses' absence, showing the level of his importance to the Stamford Bridge outfit.
On the international level, Moses was heavily involved in a young Gernot Rohr side, pulling off great performances as Nigeria secured a ticket to their 6th World Cup appearance in Russia.
While the abilities of the final three CAF nominees cannot be taken away from them, a final trio list with Victor Moses, Mohamed Salah and any of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Sadio Mane would have seemed more suitable and appreciative of the players' abilities.
Mohamed Salah has definitely staked his claim and he's an outright favourite to win the award, after recently claiming the BBC African Player of the year award, in what has been a magnificent year for the Egyptian, leading the Pharaohs to their first World Cup appearance after over two decades, and currently sits atop the Premier League charts as the highest goal scorer, with 14 goals in 18 outings.
On the other hand, the duo of Aubameyang and Senegalese forward Mane also flourished across the year but choosing one of the two players might have represented a balance for the good of African football.
2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a blistering 40 goals in 46 appearance and has already picked up the pace this season with 21 goals in as many matches, also recently surpassing Tony Yeboah's record in the Bundesliga, while Mane was instrumental in Liverpool's charge for the top four in the Premier League, also helping Senegal make it to the World Cup.
Why the disparity?
Defenders have had to do with enjoying less fame - unlike their attacking-role scoring counterparts -for their work done, with Franz Beckenbauer (1972 and 1976) and Fabio Cannavaro(2006) being the only exclusions.
Notwithstanding, awards are given to defenders, but it only represents and recognises them among players in their roles, and not among the majority of elite players in all positions especially those in the attacking roles.
The format for voting and nomination are not clearly stated, but one of the rules has definitely got to be winning trophies and being an important part of a title winning side helps the Nigerian's case.
Victor Moses would definitely rue his omission from the CAF final list, and would expect to be luckier next time, but his absence definitely stamps the fact that only attacking players are recognised for their feats.