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from right: Stephen Keshi, John Mikel Obi, Sewnet Bishaw
Coach of the Nigerian Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi made a statement over the weekend that it is about time Nigeria returned to its place of pride by having one of its star players win the coveted  laurel reserved for individual performances. Coach Keshi, while speaking to the media after Nigeria’s win over the Ethiopian side in a friendly match last Saturday, noted that it has been a long time since a Nigerian won the African Footballer of the Year Award, which he believes Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi is poised to grab. “It will boost the team and Mikel and all Nigerians because it has been a long time since we last won the award and I know we deserve to win this year”, Keshi said. The award ceremony, which is sponsored by Globacom Limited, is scheduled to hold in Lagos, Nigeria next week. Coach of the Ethiopian national team, Sewnet Bishaw observed the Super Eagles’ performances in recent times and thought it fit that a player from the West African nation wins the award; “Nigeria was obviously the best football nation in Africa last year and I won’t be surprised if a player from the country emerges the player of the year. They deserve to get the award. I also wish this beautiful stadium is somewhere in Addis Ababa”, he said, smiling in reference to the awe-inspiring Nigerian National Stadium in Abuja.  

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This article was first published on 6th January 2014

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