NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama has slammed the BBC awards after he was omitted from a five-man shortlist for the 2016 African Footballer of the Year.
Despite featuring consistently at both Southampton and Tottenham, Wanyama was not included and he feels he deserved to be among Africa’s top five.
“I thought I deserved but it is what it is. I don’t know the criteria they use but it is BBC and they will always be BBC. I am only focused on club and country at this moment and I don’t care what BBC wants to do or who they want to give,” a dejected Wanyama told Capital Sport.
Among the players named in the final shortlist is Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure who has been sidelined by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and has not played for his club this season.
Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, who was named the PFA player of the year last season, has also been named with Wanyama’s former team mate at Southampton Sadio Mane, now with Liverpool making into the list for the first time.
Others in the list are Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who became the first African to be named Bundesliga player of the year and Ghanaian Andre Ayew who plays for West Ham.
The winner to be announced December 12 will be decided by votes from fans across the world.
Wanyama, who joined Tottenham this season from Southampton, has however been nominated in the preliminary shortlist for the CAF player of the year.
The Harambee Stars skipper said his focus is leading Kenya back to the African Cup of Nations when the qualifiers for the 2019 edition start in March next year.
“We have won our last two friendly matches and we are happy. Hopefully we can take it from here. We are getting there, gelling well together, creating chances and it is just a matter of finishing. We have a good chance and a strong team for making the qualifiers,” Wanyama noted.
“We have a big squad and everyone can contribute, we are really glad and happy to have good young players coming through. Hopefully we are building something that can take us to AFCON,” the midfield maestro declared.