Super Eagles legend Emmanuel Amuneke has confessed that he was surprised to be named the best footballer in Africa for the year 1994 ahead of the trio of George Weah, Tony Yeboah, and Titi Camara.
History have it that the 1994 African Player of the Year award is amongst the tightly contested since the award ceremony began, as the men who made the shortlist had fantastic seasons with both their national teams and club sides.
As any award would surely have, the favourites for the 1994 gong were four and it had the likes of 1993 winner Rashidi Yekini, Liberian goal machine Weah, Guinean forward Camara, and Ghana’s talisman star Yeboah.
George Weah was a beast in France, with him using his pace and flair to tear defences apart in the French Ligue 1.
Weah who’s now Liberia’s President went on to claim the 1995 World Footballer Of The Year and 1995 CAF Footballer Of The Year as an AC Milan player.
Ghanian, Tony Yeboah who was the best forward in Germany could have also won the 1994 African gong. He was Bundesliga’s top goal scorer in back to back season (1992/93 – 20 goals and 1993/94 – 18 goals) while he was at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Amuneke’s compatriot Yekini also had a shot at the award. He could have won the award back to back after winning it in 1993.
Rasheed Yekini helped the Super Eagles win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, with him also emerging as the highest goal scorer and best player of the tournament .
Amuneke who eventually won the award was based in the Egyptian league, he won the Egyptian Premier League title and the CAF Champions League with FC Zamalek that year.
It’s also worthy to note that he was part of the 1994 Super Eagles team that won the African Cup Of Nations in Tunisia. He scored a brace in Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Zambia in the final.
The former FC Barcelona winger is however happy that he who was an underdog went back home with the award over the more successful rivals.
“It was indeed a great moment for me,” Amuneke told the Punch.
“I was not expecting it because, at that time, there were great players such as Rashidi Yekini, George Weah, Tony Yeboah, and Titi Camara. Back then, I was even playing in Egypt, not Europe.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and privilege to have been a one-time ‘African Footballer of the Year’. As players, we all aspire to be the best on our continent, so I was happy.”