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Confused Confederation of African Football (CAF) fumbles again

There is an ongoing feud in Africa following the recent award of the 2009 African Player of the year to Ivoirian Didier Drogba who plays for Chelsea Football club of London. The event was not only “boycotted” by the supposed three contestants, but it has come under heavy criticisms across the continent adding to a number of gaffes CAF has committed of late.

Didier Drogba defeated Cameroon/ Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o Fils. However, supporters of Eto’o Fils feel he has been cheated.  Debating during an interactive radio program in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, they claim that Eto’o was the rightful winner. According to them, Eto’o had been earlier informed of the win and indeed, a news article was already circulating that he had won the award for the fourth consecutive time but for the last minute change of name. Some people equally hold that the decision of CAF was changed when first results were leaked already; others argue that the media article was deliberate to convince voters go in for Eto’o.

Regrettably, none of the three contestants namely Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba or Michel Essien of Ghana were present. Again, in 2007 the award was given to Malian Frederick Kanoute after the supposed winner, Didier Drogba shun the event. He even went on to say he would never contest any CAF ward.  CAF accepts such insult and unruly behaviour which   I think, EUFA cannot not. CAF still goes ahead to nominate him without any public apology from him.

During the latest award, the Ivoirian Football Federation took the trophy for Drogba. Even Samuel Eto’o himself has been represented during one of the awards by his wife given that he was more committed in his European club assignments. Even the highest scorer in the 2009 season of the Africa league from Burkina Faso was not even among those recognised.

These gaffes by CAF adds to the heavy criticisms following the suspension of Togo from CAF tournaments after the later pulled out of the AFCON 2010 when their team was attacked by FLEC separatists in Cabinda, Angola. From the look of things, Issa Hayatou's over 20 years at CAF presidency just as African presidents seem to be causing some considerable harm. They have ran short of ideas

Africans who play in Europe are the luckier ones not the best

For decades, CAF has relegated it own tournaments and players to the background giving prominence to European football leagues which have more media prominence. It is only when you play in a European club that you are considered professional whereas players back home in Africa earn their living solely on football.  Only players of foreign leagues feature in most national teams despite their often mediocre performances.

I strongly think CAF just as national team coaches must understand that African players who play in Europe are not necessarily the best players. They are the luckier players because they certainly make more bucks. To therefore every year think the Africa Player of the Year must have played in Europe or should be playing in Europe is totally baseless and nonsense. A lot more of the players in Africa will play a million times better than those out of the continent  had it been they are given the chance and they do play well even in Africa. In that case, I strongly think CAF player of the year should be from an Africa club or the basis of evaluation must be the same just as those playing in Europe and nothing should be influenced by the media.

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