For many football fans across the continent, there was more to the Confederation of African Football Awards ceremony held in Accra, Ghana on Thursday than meets the eyes. Some have tagged it “CAF’s Awards Night of Confusion.”
In particular, a majority of the fans are yet to come to terms with CAF on its choice of African Best 11 players. “Are there other qualities CAF see in a player than we do not see?” Coach Godfrey Esu queried in a chat with The Guardian yesterday.
“I am asking this question because some of us don’t really understand how CAF came about the choice of African Best 11 players without the likes of Sadio Mane of Senegal, Victor Moses of Nigeria and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon on the list. I am not impressed with the choice of players made by CAF and I think some people somewhere are just playing high-level politics with African football.
“If a Victor Moses, who won the English Premier League title with Chelsea in the 2016/2017 season, and contributed so much to Super Eagles’ qualification to the World Cup in Russia is not considered good enough to be part of CAF Best 11, it means something is wrong somewhere. CAF should make things clearer to us,” Esu, a veteran coach in the Nigerian Professional League stated.
Mane and Aubameyang, who ply their soccer trades with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund made the top three of the African Player of the Year. While Mane came second behind Mohammed Salah, Aubameyang was third. Yet, the duo was ignored by CAF in its selection of the Best 11 Players for the continent. Those who made the list include Ayman Mathlouthi, Ali Maaloul, Eric Baily, Ahmed Fathy, Achraf Karim Bencharki, Karim Ilahmandi, Junior Ajayi, Mohammed Ounnajem and Khald Bo.
Even the choice of Salah as African Best Player of the Year ahead of Gabonese Aubamenyang is not going down well with some football enthusiasts. To them, Aubamenyang, who scored 31 goals in Bundesliga should have been given the award instead of Salah. The Egyptian polled 625 points, against 507 from Mane whilst Aubameyang finished a distant third with 311 points.