By Kolade Oni
Former Green Eagles' goalkeeper, Joe Erico has admitted that the institution of two awards would be good to pick Nigeria's best in 2013.
Erico who rated Super Eagles' goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama as the most consistent Nigerian player in 2013 also said that John Mikel Obi of Chelsea should also be decorated as the most improved player of the year.
Enyeama and Mikel are favourites to top list of nominees for the Goal Nigeria Player of the Year award having made inspiring display for the Eagles in the year under review. They have also helped their clubs to important milestones in 2013. Mikel won the award last year.
Expatiating on his choices as Nigeria's finest this outgoing year, the ex-international popularly called Jogo Bonito during his active footballing days pointed out that the contributions of Enyeama to the Super Eagles have also been relegated to the background because he is not an outfield player.
Listing some of the goalkeeper's achievements, Erico said that Enyeama helped the Eagles to victory at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa early in the year and was also in fine form for Nigeria at the FIFA Confederations Cup despite the fact that the country couldn't progress beyond the group stages.
Erico also praised the goalkeeper for helping Nigeria to qualify for another World Cup finals in Brazil after his sterling role during the qualifiers.
Erico also added that the icing on the cake in Enyeama's outstanding year thus far was his form in the French League where he has kept 12 clean sheets in 14 matches that his club, Lille have played thus far in the league.
The former NEPA of Lagos goalkeeper also explained that Mikel was another outstanding Nigeria player this outgoing year and so should be recognised as well.
He gave the former Plateau United midfielder the most improved Eagles star of 2013 with reasons he believes should swing votes in favour of Mikel.
According to Erico: "To me two awards should be mentioned in order to get the appropriate mix for Nigeria's best player of 2013. I will give it to Vincent Enyeama because his consistency has been quite remarkable. He has done a lot for the Super Eagles and his club in the French League. It still baffles me what has been his secret these years."
Adding the reason why Mikel should also be recognised Erico explained that: "Mikel Obi is another player we cannot just overlook. He wins my own award for the most improved Nigeria player in 2013. He has really added something special to the way he plays for the Eagles than in previous years. He put his body on the line for the Eagles in South Africa during AFCON and was our best performer in Brazil during the FIFA Confederations Cup. He also assisted in the Eagles' qualification for the World Cup."
Voting for the Goal Nigeria Player of the Year Award opens on December 2, 2013. Use the hashtag #GoalNigeriaPOTY in your Twitter discussions.