The award for the best Nigerian defender for the year 2016 will be a straight battle between Mainz O5 Leon Balogun, Gent William Troost-Ekong and on loan Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo.
Organisers of the Nigeria Pitch Awards picked the duo as the final shortlist in a mail received by Owngoalnigeria.com editorial desk.
Balogun had an outstanding 2016 for Nigeria and Mainz 05, particularly during the World Cup 2018 Qualifiers game against Algeria which Nigeria won 3-1 in Uyo.
Troost-Ekong followed up his fine showing for Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics with three strong performances for Nigeria in the AFCON 2017 dead rubber tie against Tanzania, and the World Cup 2018 Qualifiers against Zambia and Algeria respectively.
Omeruo on his part played a big role for Nigeria in ensuring they pick up back to back win in the World Cup 2018 Qualifiers and also he had a loan season to remember with Kasimpasa in Turkey last year.
Presently out on loan to Alanyaspor from Chelsea, he has also grown in leaps and bounds with strong showing for the team not just from his primary role as a central defender as he has performed admirably well as a holding midfielder in some games.