Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, has said it is “twice difficult” for an African to emerge as the best player in the world.
Okocha stated this in an interview with CNN on Friday, shortly after Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar were shortlisted for the 2017 FIFA Men Best Footballer award.
“I think as an African player, it is twice more difficult for you to win it,” he said.
“Because from onset, you are playing on different kind of pressure- pressure to push yourself, pressure to eradicate poverty, pressure to be successful and I think by doing that, you will lose focus sometimes and quit trying to be the best because you have other things you are worried about.
“To an extent, I think yes. I have to accept with Yaya Touré because it’s very rare as an African that you will sign for a team and you will be fully accepted.
“You will have to prove yourself. I can even give you an example. At some clubs, they don’t even like to sign African players because of the African Nations Cup.
“The timing of it… it happens in January. But we are working towards that. Maybe we will just adjust our calendar to give the next generation better opportunity to win it,” he said.
Liberian George Weah is the only African to be named the world’s best player of the year.