By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Emmanuel Amunike, former African Best Footballer of the Year, has responded strongly to the barrage of criticisms on his alleged choice of Egyptian football star, Mohamed Salah over his countryman Victor Osimhen in the prestigious CAF Player Of The Year (Men), saying the allegation is totally false.
Amunike described the criticisms as misplaced as he was never selected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as one of the persons to vote for the three candidates in the run for the CAF Player Of The Year (Men) which Super Eagles foward and Napoli of Italy talismanic goalpoacher Osimhen won.
Speaking to Prompt News from Marrakech today ahead of his departure for Barcelona, Spain, the ex-international said he was sad to learn about a trending false story in the social media that he did not vote for Osimhen but chose Salah, pointing out that notting of such happened.
According to him: “it is laughable for anyone to say I did not vote for Osimhen. First of all, I want people to understand that the rumours that some people are spreading concerning me not voting Osimhen are blatant lies. I was never elected to vote.
Speaking further he said: “The truth is that on our way to the novelty game that we played in Marrakech here, 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 Ashraf Hakimi and Mohamed Salah.
“There was no 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.
“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 would continue to dream and achieve more for the betterment of his career and the betterment of Nigeria.
“It has come to a time in our culture in Nigeria – with all due respect to the guys spreading the falsehood to stop. We should stop spreading false news and stop creating false impression to the people. READ ALSO:
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” I have high regards for journalists in general and sports Journalists in particular but we should understand that our responsibility is to inform the public of what is right.
Amunike said he is one person who loves Nigeria and her people and will fight hard to put the country first in all he does especially in football, pointing out that how can he not vote for Osimhen who he has played a big role in moulding as a daredevil striker.
“I will be the first person to vote for a Nigerian including Osimhen if I was asked to vote but I was not involved. So I am happy that Osimhen who played under me in the Junior cadre has won the prestigious CAF Player Of The Year Award like some of us Nigerians did in the past. It’s something to be happy about as a Nigerian. I am happy him and he knows it. So let the lies stop”, Amunike concluded.