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African Best: Ex-International Says Super Eagles Star Up There With Mane, Salah

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The former Nigerian international has been left impressed with the exploits of his compatriot since he arrived in England and has no doubt that the Leicester midfielder is one of the best from the black continent 

Ex-Nigerian international Seyi Olofinjana is convinced that aside from the Liverpool duo of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, no African player is better than Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi.

Olofinjana admits that it would be difficult for Ndidi to beat Salah and Mane to the CAF Best Player Award any time soon, but the former Wolves midfielder insists he won’t be surprised to see the Super Eagles ace rated among the best three in Africa.

Goalscoring attackers have won each of the last five African Footballer of the Year Awards, with Mohamed Salah (twice), Riyad Mahrez, and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang winning the coveted awards. Senegal international Mane is the reigning king of football on the continent.

Ivory Coast’s icon Yaya Toure (2014), then of Manchester City, is the last midfielder to secure the award, but even he was renowned for his goalscoring abilities.

Ndidi’s reputation, though, is built on his tackling, intercepting, and ball-winning attributes, with no player of such profile ever claiming the top award.

However, Olofinjana expects Ndidi’s excellent performances for the Foxes in the Premier League to convince people to recognise him as being top quality.

“There’s more to football than just the flashy stuff,” Olofinjana told ESPN.

“Don’t get me wrong, those are the very important parts of the game.

“Talking about the Manes and the Salahs who are doing the business on the top end of the field, they will always get more recognition and accolades from the by the virtue of their position.

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“But again, it takes somebody like Ndidi connecting a lot of these things from the back and making these guys play the football and he has the statistics to back that up, that’s why we have to say come on, he deserves to be recognized for what he brings to the table.

“Can he win it at the moment? I don’t think so. People will always look at the likes of Mane and Salah playing for big clubs and scoring goals. But I think he should be one of the three [nominated].”

Ndidi has played in 157 matches for Leicester City, notching nine goals and contributing another eight assists.

The 24-year-old, who has 34 international caps for Nigeria since his debut on October 8, 2015, is constantly linked to some of the biggest clubs across Europe.

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