CAF Awards: I didn’t vote Salah, says Amuneke
13th December 2023
By Abiodun Adewale
Former Super Eagles winger and 1994 AFCON winner, Emmanuel Amuneke, insists he didn’t vote in the poll for the 2023 CAF Player of The Year award, which was won by Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.
Amuneke made this known in the wake of a backlash from Nigerians, after a video shared by CAF showed the Nigerian legend picking Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah — another of the final nominees along with moroccan Hachraf Hakimi — in the pecking order.
Amuneke, who also coached Osimhen and his teammates to Nigeria’s fifth U-17 World Cup triumph in Chile 2015, has come under fire over the video, but he maintained that Osimhen was not in the discourse when he mentioned Salah.
“First of all, I want you to understand the rumours that you guys are spreading concerning me not voting Osimhen. I was never elected to vote,” Amuneke said on a WhatsApp group Nigerian Sports Village Square.
“On our way to the novelty game that we played in Marrakech, a former player and captain of the Egyptian national team – who is preparing himself to become a TV producer in Egypt – with his group, he was debating on the Arabian team and he raised the question between Hakimi and Salah.
“There was a time Osimhen was mentioned in that discussion. He came to me and asked ‘Hakimi or Salah’. I have to say Salah. And the reason why I said Salah was because I played in Egypt and I lived in Egypt and I know some of the guys there,” Amuneke explained.
He also expressed delight in Osimhen’s emergence with the hope that the Napoli striker will reach greater heights in the game.
“So, there is nothing like voting against Osimhen. Osimhen is our player and our boy. We are happy about what he has achieved and we hope he will continue to dream and achieve more for the betterment of his career and the betterment of Nigeria.”
Amuneke also won the CAF Player of The Year award in 1994.