The remaining part of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana is in danger of being overshadowed by the controversy surrounding CAF’s decision to award Fredrick Kanoute the Africa Player of Year honor.
The Mali forward who plays for Spanish outfit Fc Seville became the first non-African born player to win the accolade.
Kanoute, 30 edged out Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba, last year’s winner, and Ghana’s Michael Essien for the 2007 award.
However, it has been revealed that his conquest wasn’t a genuine one as the ‘real’ winner of supposed winner was Drogba.
But the Chelsea striker was snubbed because he was unable to travel to Lome, Togo, as he was busy preparing for his country’s quarter-final clash with Guinea.
And now it has been reported that the 29-year-old has pulled out of future African Player of the Year awards because ‘his award’ was handed over to Kanoute.
Ghana and Chelsea midfielder Essien also sought permission from his team to attend the function, and came in second.
The Confederation of African Football, CAF have been known to name only those players who can attend the function, but now people will start to wonder if it has been taken a step too far this time round.
The declarations are certain to cause embarrassment to the CAF bosses, as the logic behind forcing players to leave their national team camps and travel to Togo is certain to be questioned.
Plus, what makes it even more questionable is the fact that an event in Ghana would actually have received better coverage, with media representatives from all over the world currently in the country covering the African Nations Cup.
CAF have in the past been criticized for the manner in which they do carry out their business, something that has in turn tarnished the image of African football.
And so, this latest hullabaloo, if indeed turns to be true (that Drogba was actually the true winner); it is likely to further justify the longstanding criticism that CAF is actually a rotten organization.
Not only in football or sports in general but in other fields elsewhere, winners have been given awards even in their absence, but for CAF to claim they can’t give ‘their’ award to someone not available (in person) doesn’t make much sense. Or does it?
And further still, the timing of the this controversy has come at a time when the continent has been served to such an exciting Nations’ Cup so far, one of the best tournaments ever by any comparison.
However, all that could be up in flames, like I said earlier, if it turns to be true that Kanoute wasn’t actually the initial winner of the 2007 accolade!
Anyway, away from that, a fascinating game as fine goals and a never-say-die attitude from both sets of players characterized the last quarter-final game between Cameron and Tunisia.
The four-time champions, Cameroon probably deserved their 3-2 victory after extra-time and will now face hosts Ghana in tomorrow’s semi-final in Tamale.
In the second semifinal, history could either repeat itself or be written when the reigning African champions Egypt who saw off a brave Angola 2-1 in the quarterfinal, meet hot favorites Ivory Coast.
The clash in Kumasi is a re-run of the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations final in which Egypt who were playing at home beat the Elephants on penalty shootout.
And just when you thought that the image of football in Africa was being repaired in the best way possible on the evidence of this year’s tournament in Ghana, again comes the mess in CAF—nonetheless, a Ghana versus Egypt final remains top of my cards.