By Tony Ubani
Nigerians are used to worrying about such amenities like bad roads, light, water, security, poor salary, poor health services among others. NOW, football has joined to their worries.
The low level that Nigerian football has played itself into can better be imagined. Confederation of African Football, CAF, yesterday shortlisted players for the 2011 CAF African Footballer of the Year Award with no Nigerian named. They are not to blame. No Nigerian player merits to be named.
The award has eluded Nigerian players in the past 10 years. Nwankwo Kanu won it last in 2000.
But a Nigerian, Kalu Uche of Enyimba, got listed in the home-based players also called Caf African Player of the Year.
Interestingly, however, three Ivoriens – Yaya Toure of Mancity, Didier Drogba of Chelsea and Gervinho of Arsenal were named in the tent ative list. Ghana also got its full honours with Asamoah Gyan of UAE side, Al Ain, Andre Ayew of Marseille and Kevin Prince-Boatengof AC Milan.
Ubiquitous Samuel Etoó Fils of Cameroon and Anzhi was also named.
Others named for the award are Morocco’s Adel Taarabt, Moussa Sow of Senegal and Mali’s Seydou Keita.
The Ivorian trio and their counterparts from Ghana were nominated for helping their countries qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations without a defeat.
Sow, who won the French Ligue 1’s top scorer award in May, was rewarded for helping Senegal return to Africa’s flagship competition, the Africa Cup of Nations, after edging past favourites Cameroon.
Eto’o, who won the award for the fourth time last year, was named despite failing to help his club and country to achieve anything significant this year.
The list will be whittled down to three before the winner in named in December.
The winner will be decided by votes from coaches of all the African senior national teams.
The awards ceremony will be held in Accra on 22 December.
Meanwhile two Tunisian players were named in the Best African Player on the Continent category.
Oussama Darragi and Youssef Msakni, who play for Esperance, were shortlisted for helping their club to reach the final of the African Champions League.
Zimbabwean striker Edward Sadomba was also nominated in this category for his contribution to Sudanese side Al Hilal who reached the semi-final of the Champions League.
It will be the third time the Ghanaian capital will be hosting the annual event after 2006 and 2009.