Ex-Nigeria defender Ifeanyi Udeze has revealed he was surprised to learn Napoli striker Victor Osimhen was not considered for the Caf Men's Player of the Year Award for the past season.
The 23-year-old forward has been terrific in Serie A where he scored 14 goals and provided two assists as the Naples outfit finished in the Uefa Champions League places.
He, however, missed the Afcon held in Cameroon earlier this year owing to an injury. In the provisional nominations list released a couple of days ago, Moses Simon was the only Nigeria international nominated and Udeze is not amused.
"It was a surprise to me that Osimhen’s name was not on that list, there was a 30-man shortlist and his name was not there, I was shocked," the now 41-year-old told Punch.
"I don’t know the criteria they are using for the nominations. I feel Osimhen was not on that list because he did not go for the African Cup of Nations and this affected his judgement.
"Moses was on that list because he performed for Nigeria in the Afcon, and he also helped his club [Nantes] side to win a cup at least."
Udeze has now advised Osimhen not to think about his omission and focus on the new season.
"I think Osimhen should just take that off his mind and work towards the new season and you never can tell, I’ll just wish him all the very best," he added.
The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medalist Femi Ajilore felt Osimhen should have been nominated even if he wasn't going to win the award.
"I would have wished Osimhen was among the nominees but I don’t know the criteria they used in picking those players," the former midfielder opined.
"He has done so well and is the best young player in the Italian league. If a player can win the best young player in Serie A, it shows that he has a lot of potential, and when you look at the national level, he is one of our best at the moment, and for that reason, I think he deserves a spot and even if he doesn’t win it, at least, it’s a recognition of what he is doing."
Osimhen has been linked to several top clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United.