Former Nigerian Captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha insists it is “twice as difficult” for an African to emerge as the best player in the world.
Okocha was on the panel of the FIFA Legends that announced the final shortlist of nominees for the various categories of The Best Awards 2017.
In an interview with CNN, the former Midfielder said players from the continent have to contend with a great deal of pressure that also limits their ability to compete.
“I think as an African player, it is twice more difficult for you to win it,” he said.
— CNN Sport (@cnnsport) September 22, 2017
“Because from onset your 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,” Okocha said.
“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.”
Liberian George Weah is the only African to have won the world’s best player of the year award.