By James Agberebi:
Super Falcons coach Florence Omagbemi, top scorer at the just concluded Africa Women’s Cup of Nations Asisat Oshoala and Super Eagles trio Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Nigeria’s men’s U-23 team have all made the final shortlists for the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) awards for 2016.
Omagbemi, who recently led the Falcons to their eighth AWCON title in Cameroon, was nominated in the Coach of the Year category.
She is up for the award along with with Pitso Mosimane of South Africa, who led Mamelodi Sundowns to the CAF Champions League title, and Serbian-born Milutin Sredojevic, coach of Uganda.
The two other nominees are Algeria’s Nacer Sandjak (MO Bejaia) and DR Congo’s Florent Imenge (coach of DR Congo).
Etebo and Iheanacho are shortlisted in the Promising Talents category.
Etebo had a memorable 2016, helping the U-23 Eagles win the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal, finishing as top scorer.
Etebo also scored four goals to help Nigeria U-23s beat Japan 5-4 in their opening game at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where the U-23 Eagles went on to win bronze.
For Iheanacho, it was a year to remember as he scored in his first ever Manchester derby and was on target against Zambia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier which the Eagles won 2-1.
And in this season’s Champions League, Iheanacho has already scored two goals.
The three other nominees for the Promising Talent category are Elia Meschack of DR Congo, Baby Keita of Guinea and Egypt’s Ramadan Sobhi.
In the Youth Player of the Year award, Iwobi will contend with Eric Ayiah and Sandra Ansah both from Ghana, Franck Jessie of Cote d’Ivoire and Sikiki Maiga from Mali.
After suffering an injury setback early this season, Iwobi seems to have continued from where he left off last season.
Iwobi opened his goals account in Arsenal’s 4-1 win against Basel in the Champions League and scored his first league goal of the season in Arsenal’s 3-1 win against Stoke on Saturday.
He was also on target when the Super Eagles beat Zambia 2-1 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
In the shortlist for the Woman Player award, Oshoala has Gabrielle Aboudi, Raissa Feudjio of Cameroon, South Africa’s Janine Van Wyk and Ghana’s Elizabeth Addo to contend with.
Oshoala was top scorer at the 2016 AWCON, scoring five goals to help the Falcons to their eight title.
And for the National Team of the Year, Nigeria’s U-23 men’s team are nominated along with Uganda, Guinea Bissau, DR Congo and Senegal.
The coach Samson Siasia-led side won Team Nigeria’s only medal (bronze) at the Rio Olympic Games.
And for the Referee of the Year Papa Gasama (Gambia), Grishea Gehead (Egypt) and Malang Diedhiou (Senegal) will go head-to-head.
The award ceremony comes up in January 5, 2017, in Abuja.
Coach of the Year nominees:
Florence Omagbemi (Nigeria)
Milutin Sredojevic (Serbia/ Uganda Coach)
Pit so Mosimane (South Africa/Mamelodi Sundowns)
Nacer Sandjak (Algeria/No Bejaia)
Florent Ibenge (Dr Congo/ Dr Congo Coach)
Youth Player of the Year nominees:
Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
Eric Ayiah (Ghana)
Franck Jessie (Cote d’Ivoire)
Sandra Ansah (Ghana)
Sidiki Maiga (Mali)
Most Promising Talent nominees:
Oghenekaro Etebo (Nigeria)
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
Elia Meschack (Dr Congo)
Naby Keita (Guinea)
Ramadan Sobhi (Egypt)
Woman Player of the Year nominees:
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
Elizabeth Addo (Ghana)
Gabrielle Aboudi (Cameroon)
Raissa Feudjio (Cameroon)
Janine Van Wyk (South Africa)
National Team of the Year nominees:
Referee of the Year nominees:
Papa Gasama (Gambia)
Grishea Gehead (Egypt)
Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)