Mali football legend Frédéric Kanouté has opined that Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze is not ready yet to be in the conversation for African Player of the Year.

Kanouté who was the African Player of the Year in 2007 recently at a media parley via Zoom with Nigerian journalists where he was asked about Chukwueze.

The former Sevilla striker was asked if the Super Eagles star and Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey can win the African Player of the Year award during the media parley.

 Frédéric Kanouté says Chukwueze has to increase his stats (Twitter/James Savundra)
Frédéric Kanouté says Chukwueze has to increase his stats (Twitter/James Savundra)

They are not ready, but they are there to grow,” the legend said.

Kanouté however also added that the 21-year-old is an exciting player that needs to develop.

Football entails the technical part, the physical part, tactical part and mental part as well which are very important,” Kanouté continues.

And if he works very seriously and keeps a high level of discipline and work ethics, I think he is a kid that can be very impressive in the coming months and years for LaLiga.

“So all depends on him in terms of work and dedication he is going to put into his work and if he becomes a little bit more decisive – I mean scoring a bit more goals and assists.

“At the end of the day, they are going to look at his stats because it doesn’t matter if he can do three stepovers and dribble people, but if he doesn’t have an impact in the game for his team, then it’s going to be very difficult.

“He will learn that because - he is still young and going to keep going and developing.”

Chukwueze caught the eyes in the 2018/2019 season when he broke out at Villarreal. In his debut season in La Liga, the Nigerian scored nine goals in all competitions.

During that season, Chukwueze had impressive performances against Real Madrid and Barcelona that soared his reputation.

He hasn't been the same this season and has managed just three goals in 26 appearances.