Fanny Amun, a former Super Eagles, national U20 and U17 coach, on Tuesday applauded the duo of Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala for being nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award in the men’s and women’s categories.
Amun, famous for leading the Eaglets to their triumph at the 1993 FIFA U17 World Cup, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the nominations had further put Nigeria on the map.
NAN reports that Osimhen and Oshoala among the five African players vying to win one of the most prestigious awards in the football world since Liberian President, George Weah, achieved the feat in 1995.
Other players from the continent shortlisted for the award are: Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Cameroon’s Andre Onana and Yassine Bounou from Morocco.
“This feat is commendable, coming at this time, these are two fantastic players that have proven themselves to be game makers be it at club level or in the national team.
“They have earned their spot. This will further encourage young up and coming players that nothing beats hard-work and dedication.
“Osimhen missed a penalty in his team’s last league match but that doesn’t necessarily mean his nomination wasn’t earned.
“The best of the best players in the world at moments that matter most miss penalty kicks, but they always redeem themselves, players are human too so mistakes do happen,” he said.
Osimhen earned a place on the men’s shortlist after scoring 31 goals last season for Napoli who clinched their first Italian league title in 33 years.
Osinmen made history when he became the first African player to claim the prestigious Italian Serie A golden boot award, edging out competition from Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez to land the coveted individual accolade.
He is also the leading scorer in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with seven goals.
Oshoala, on her part, is the only woman from the continent nominated in the female category.
Notably, Oshoala became the first-ever Barcelona Femení player and African player to score in a UEFA Women’s Champions League final and the first Nigerian to score in any UEFA Champions League final.
She has won the Confederation of African Footballer’s African Women’s Player of the Year award five times.