The shortlist of the three nominees for the African Youth Player of The Year Category award was reached following votes from a CAF Technical & Development Committee and a panel of media experts with an emphasis on the performance of every nominee during the year 2019.
Many people had predicted either Osimhen or Chukwueze to win the individual accolade but Morrocan and Dortmund Defender (Hakimi) was awarded as the best African Youth Player for 2019 to the surprise of many Nigerian football lovers.
The Moroccan international has established himself as one of Europe’s most exciting attacking full-backs, scoring 2 goals and 6 assists in 17 Bundesliga appearances so far this season, also netting 4 times in his 5 Champions League matches to help his team to the knockout stages of the European competition.
For Morocco, Hakimi couldn’t help his star-studded team beyond the second round of the AFCON last year by getting knocked out by the Squirrels of Benin.
However, this year, Osimhen was thought to be the favorite to win the award for the second time after his brilliant form for both Nigeria and Lille. It will be recalled that he once clinched the award after his scintillating performance at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Mexico in 2015 and has since then been on hiatus for another edition of the award.
The Lille goal poacher has so far bagged 10 superb goals and 3 assists for Lille in 19 appearances this season. While registering 2 goals in the group stage of the champions league this season.
For Nigeria, Osimhen couldn’t dethrone Odion Ighalo at the AFCON last year but after the retirement of the Ighalo, Osimhen has cemented his place in Gernot Rohr’s team at every international fixture. He has scored 3 and registered 2 assists in two matches for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Samuel Chukwueze is one other name that most Nigerians are really frustrated about. The Villarreal wonder kid has gone to show not once, twice or thrice that he’s one of best African Youth Players with his performances in the Laliga, Europa League and his country Nigeria.
During a nail-biting 4-4 draw with Barcelona last season, the 20-year-old rendered Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti dilapidated with his relentless running and dazzling rapid footwork. Alba ended up with cramp on the night as he tried in vain to contain the Nigerian star boy who netted a goal and an assist against the Catalans.
READ ALSO: Top 8 African Clubs Of The Decade
At the AFCON last year, his explosive and highly effective displays from out wide also earned him a place in the Nigeria side for the Africa Cup of Nations where he claimed the man-of-the-match award during a 2-1 win over South Africa.
Eyes have been on him since then to see whether he’s just another quick and skillful young star who has a glorious highlights reel on Youtube and social media who could just as well fade away in the deep sea of Europe’s talent pool and end up in a backwater league – But, the never say die Nigeria spirit has kept Samuel up to this moment.
Statistically, Achraf Hakimi shouldn’t have won the African Youth Player Of The Year Award at the expense of the aforementioned Nigerian talents. The fact that the two Nigeria sensations, without much experience, have helped Nigeria to snatch the Bronze medal at the AFCON last year is something to take to cognizance.
Many aberrant and sentimental officials of CAF have done a crazy job with their “votes” and it just doesn’t make our administration of Football in Africa an ideal and genuine one – What a shoddy job done by CAF!
However, congratulations to Hakimi who was crowned the 2019 African Youth Player of the Year at the Confederation Of African Football (CAF) awards ceremony held in the Egyptian city of Hurghada. The Moroccan international, who is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Marid, also landed the distinction last year. This time round, he beat off competition from Nigeria’s duo of Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) and Victor Osimhen (Lille).
The right-back was also named in the African Best XI for 2019, in which he lines up alongside Onana, Aurier, Matip, Koulibaly, Gueye, Mahrez, Ziyech, Salah, Aubameyang and Sadio Mané.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.