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Sports Features of Wednesday, 14 October 2015


Ghanaian chances of African Player of the Year slim

Andre Ayew Andre Ayew

Ghana football will be hoping to end a 23-year wait for an African footballer of the year but the chances of a Ghanaian winning this year are very slim after the Confederation of African Football released its initial shortlist.
For many years, the African Player of The Year title has become the holy grail for individual African footballers.

On a continent renowned for some of the biggest talents in world football, the honour of being considered the best player here can open the doors to a world of mega contract, endorsement deals and a level of prestige.

For Ghanaian players it has become even more of an obsession given the long period without one. It has been twenty two years since any Ghanaian player won the honour after the last of Abedi Ayew Pele’s three titles in 1993.

His son Dede Ayew has come close once, finishing four years ago in the top three. Samuel Osei Kuffour came closest in 2001 off the back of his champions league win with Bayern Munich. In 1999, he had finished second too after his Bayern Munich side lost to Manchester United in a gripping champions league game.

Asamoah Gyan thought he should have won it in 2010 and perhaps would have had it not been for that infamous penalty miss against Uruguay at the world cup in South Africa. That penalty miss denied its first world cup semifinalist and many say with it also denied Gyan what would have been the highest accolade of his career.

Michael Essien also rode on the back of his trophy ladden Chelsea years to get close several times to the top price but could manage only regular top three finishes over four times. He was runner up in 2007 before top three finishes followed consistently.

Christian Atsu and Dede will be hoping to change that narrative of nearly men but Yaya Toure having led Ivory Coast to Nations Cup glory and Pierre-Emereck Aubameyang in fine form, makes it highly unlikely.