Soccer News of Saturday, 24 December 2011
Accra, Dec, 23, GNA - Black Stars midfielder Andre Ayew failed in his bid to be crowned African Player of the Year 2011 at the CAF Awards Gala held on Thursday at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra.
Ayew finished third behind eventual winner Yaya Toure of Cote d’Ivoire and Malian Seydou Keita in a poll decided by votes from the Head Coaches or Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF.
The failure continued Ghana’s sad story in the history in the annual awards with former captain Abedi Pele Ayew being the only winner since the continent’s governing body took over the organisation of the awards.
The hall went dead after Minister of Youth and Sports, Clement Kofi announced Ayew as the bronze winner with most Ghanaian dreaming of yet another ‘host and win’.
After winning the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) edition of the award last week, the 22-year old was widely tipped to follow the feat of his father 20-years ago. He was in the company of his father Abedi Pele and younger brother Jordan.
Ghana took consolation in Harrison Afful, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Ayew being named in the CAF Finest XI for the year on a night that saw Cote d’Ivoire picking up three valuable awards.
Ivorian teenage striker Souleymane Coulibaly was named Most Promising Talent of the Year and Noumandiez Doue as Referee of the Year.
The coronation of the Toure was the climax of the ceremony attended by the crème de la crème of African footballers, officials and administrators.
Niger coach Harouna Doula picked the prize for best coach whilst Africa Cup of Nations debutants Botswana saw their efforts in the qualifying series being rewarded with National Team of the Year gong. The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon were also named Women’s National Team of the Year.
CAF Champions League winners’ Esperance Sportive de Tunis was adjudged Club of the Year whilst Libya grabbed the Fair Play award.
Former internationals Mustapha Hadji of Morocco and Austin ‘Jay-Jay’Okocha of Nigeria were presented with Legends Awards in recognition of their contribution to the development of the game over the years.
The ceremony sponsored by telecommunications giants, Globacom left the guests in awe with its rich display of culture, acrobatics and musical performance. There were also musical performances from local hi-life sensation Kwabena Kwabena and young songstress, Efya, both from Ghana.
Beninois Zeynab also added some colour to the event just as South Africa duo Gloria Bosman and Loyiso Bala and Kenyan acrobatic tumbling group, ‘Troop Agile’.
This is the third time the award was being staged in Ghana after 2006 and 2009.