Yaya Toure took to the stage to collect his third consecutive CAF African Player of the Year award at the CAF annual awards ceremony, which recognizes the best footballers in Africa.
The Ivorian reserved special praise for his Man City teammate Kelechi Iheanacho, who was the winner of “Most Promising Talent of the Year” on the night;
“Kelechi is an exciting player. I love the way he plays and I feel that he will have a good career at the club and go on to become one of the players of the future.”
Iheanacho scooped the award after his stunning performances at 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup in Abu Dhabi, which his Nigeria team won.
Iheanacho scored 6 goals and registered 7 assists in the competition, and he was also awarded the prestigious Golden Ball trophy.
Iheanacho has gone from strength to strength since that night.
The 19 year old striker missed large parts of the 2014/15 campaign through injury, but eventually returned to the score in the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea and to score the winner in the International Premier League Cup final win over FC Porto
He was promoted to the first team this season after he impressed manager Manuel Pellegrini during the pre-season tour of America, and hasn’t looked back since.
Iheanacho has managed 9 goals in 9 starts this season, including two in the 4-2 defeat at Southampton on Sunday.
The first was a reflexive header, but the second was indicative of the vast potential this young forward possesses. Picking the ball up 20 yards out, the striker bent a sumptuous curler into the far top corner.
It was his 13th goal in just 24 appearances this season, and he has been utilised as a super sub to great effect at times this season. In fact, these 13 goals are all the more impressive considering the striker has only played 610 minutes.
It seems bizarre that other strikers such as Marcus Rashford – who has scored fewer goals in more minutes – is receiving far more attention and praise than Man City’s effective academy graduate.
Perhaps it is because he is not English, or maybe it’s because he is hidden in the shadow of Sergio Aguero, but Iheanacho has gone somewhat under the radar.
Still not convinced?
Iheanacho has the best goals-to-minute ratio in the Premier League. The Nigerian averages a goal every 87 minutes in the league, which betters every other striker including his teammate Sergio Aguero (95).
It is likely that Iheanacho will have to be patient, and he may have to content himself with playing second fiddle to Aguero for now.
The future is certainly bright for the Imo born striker, who has earned two caps for Nigeria, and Pep Guardiola is sure to improve him even further.
by David Smith