Past winners of the African Football of the Year Awards are expected in Accra, Ghana at the 26th edition of the awards which holds today.
Among the galaxy of stars will be Liberia’s George Weah who was last week elected as the 25th president of his country.
He is expected to attract the greatest attention at the International Conference Centre venue of the event. He will possibly be accorded diplomatic status. He set a record of being the first former top athlete to become a head of state.
He had been the only footballer to score an unusual hat trick as simultaneous holder of World Footballer of the Year, European Football of the Year and African Footballer of the Year – all in one year. A feat he achieved in 1997.
Joining him are the living trio of Nigerian past winners of the CAF Awards – Emmanuel Amuneke, Victor Ikpeba and Nwankwo Kanu – all winners in 1994, 1997 and 1999 respectively. Rashidi Yekini, winner of the award in 1993 is deceased.
The Nigerians are part of the galaxy of awardees from 1992 that CAF has invited to the occasion being sponsored for the first time by Nigeria-based Aiteo.
The past awardees range from Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew (1992) through to Riyad Mahrez who was crowned in 2016.
The past winners represent various generations and CAF has indicated that they will be given prominence at the ceremony designed to celebrate the key stakeholders of African football.
Others are Cameroonian and four-time winner, Samuel Eto’o and compatriot Patrick Mboma, Ivorian Yaya Toure, a four-time winner and countryman Didier Drogba and El Hadji Diouf of Senegal.
The rest are Mustapha Hadji of Morocco, Malian Frederic Kanoute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Togolese Emmanuel Adebayor.
Also, the women are not left out as previous Queens of African football are also pencilled for the biggest assemblage of football stakeholders.
The list of invitees is not only limited to previous winners, but also to other players and officials whose contribution towards the progress of African football cannot be overlooked.