The contenders for the 2018 NFF Young Player of the Year award; which of this trio are you backing for the inaugural gong?
Three of the most precociously talented Nigerian players have been shortlisted for the Best Young Player category of the inaugural NFF Awards which takes place in Lagos on February 19.
FC Zurich forward Stephen Odey and two African Nations Championship silver-medal winners, Ikouwem Udoh and Nur Mohammed, complete the trio jostling for the honors, but which of the three are favorite for the maiden prize?
As awards go, with its contemporary value on numbers over dazzling impacts, Stephen Odey is perhaps the frontrunner of the three nominees. The hit man’s 18 goals for MFM in the 2016-17 season was enough to get them on track for a first continental spot, which also saw the city of Lagos compete against Africa’s finest for the first time in 14 years. The young forward exudes a Harry Kane-like demeanor, and just like the Englishman, he gets himself into dangerous areas to put finishing touches to the free-flowing blueprint of his team.
Despite the overwhelming, sensational Rory Delap-esque narratives around Daniel Itodo, once Ikouwem Udoh replaced him at the CHAN, the first-choice left-back was forgotten. His performances at the African Nations Championship surely helped his cause for nomination in this category. Last season, the left-back, recently promoted to the first team, reveled in his role as Chima Akas’s deputy at Enyimba, and his input in 16 top-flight outings were also crucial as the People’s Elephant finish third in the league to bag a return to continental action.
Nur is the youngest of the pack as he continues a remarkable 2018, having been a surprise inclusion in Nigeria’s squad for the CHAN. The decision to include a 15-year-old who has no top-flight outings under his belt and only features for El-Kanemi Warriors’ feeder side was seen as ridiculous by some considering the fact that forwards such as Sikiru Olatunbosun and Plateau United’s new gem Tosin Omoyele were snubbed. The youngster, however, delivered a few encouraging performances when handed the opportunity to impress in Morocco. He made his bow in the group opener against Rwanda and went on to see more actions as Nigeria finished second to the hosts.
Of this three hot prospects who do you think would be going home with the prize?