Connect with us

International Football




The city of Accra, Ghana’s sedate but attractive capital is the venue for another watershed in the history of the African Football Awards as the event begins another quarter –century life under a new headline sponsor.

Aiteo Group, Nigeria’s leading energy solution company and Official Optimum Partner of the Nigeria Football Federation, signed a contract with the Confederation of African Football in Lagos in October 2017 and is bankrolling the event for the first time.

Nigeria’s specific interests in Thursday’s event can be found in the Women African Player of the Year award (with Asisat Oshoala again in contention), Men’s National Team of the Year (where the Super Eagles, first African team to qualify for Russia 2018 and also with a match to spare from a so –called ‘group of death,’ is involved) and the Women’s National Team of the Year (featuring the Nigeria U20 girls).

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, is in the race for Coach of the Year award and flew into Accra on Wednesday afternoon.

Also on Wednesday afternoon, CAF President Ahmad, in company with FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, CAF 1st Vice President Kwesi Nyantakyi and Nigeria’s CAF Executive Committee member Amaju Pinnick, paid a courtesy call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo at the Flagstaff House.


They were accompanied by CAF Secretary General Amr Fahmy and Deputy Secretary General Anthony Baffoe.

From the inaugural Awards in 1992, there have been 16 winners including four Nigerians (one of them, Rashidi Yekini, now of blessed memory), while John Mikel Obi (now Super Eagles’ captain) was runner –up in 2013 and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama came third in 2014.

For many Nigerian football fans and aficionados, one of the biggest mysteries of the Awards is that former Super Eagles’ captain Jay Jay Okocha is not among the 16 previous winners.

Many still feel he was good enough for it in 2004, when he was the Most Valuable Player of the AFCON and had a year to treasure with Bolton Wanderers in the English Premiership.

However, it is a new day and another event in Accra on Thursday night, with all the living 15 previous winners, including Nigeria’s Kanu (the first man to win the African Player of the Year award twice), Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba to turn up at the Accra International Conference Centre.


They will be joined by Liberia’s President-elect George Oppong Weah (who is the only African to have won the World Player of the Year title, and did a treble by also winning the European Player of the Year award in the same 1995), former Black Stars’ captain Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew (winner of the maiden award in 1992), four –time winners Yaya Toure and Samuel Eto’o Fils, two –time winners Didier Drogba and El-Hadji Diouf, and Frederic Kanoute, Patrick Mboma, Mustapha Hadji, Emmanuel Adebayor, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Riyad Mahrez, who won in 2016 but is not in contention for the 2017 gong.

Only Cote d’Ivoire, with Drogba’s double and Toure’s quadruple, have taken more titles than Nigeria.

It is also the first time in the history of the event that all previous winners have been invited.

Also for the first time ever, football fans and the general public were presented with the opportunity to have a say in the selection process for the African Player of the Year and Africa’s Finest XI.

Public voting opened on the CAF website on Sunday, 24th December 2017. The outcome will be tallied with results from the earlier phases of the selection process for the contenders. Voting for Africa’s Finest XI has been on CAF Facebook.


This year, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Senegal’s Sadio Mane (both of English Premiership giants Liverpool, and whose countries, like Nigeria, are both headed for the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia) are in contention with 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Oshoala is in the race with Cameroon’s Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and South African Chrestina Kgatlana.





1992: Abedi Pele (Ghana)

1993: Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria)

1994: Emmanuel Amuneke (Nigeria)

1995: George Weah (Liberia)

1996: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)


1997: Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria)

1998: Mustapha Hadji (Morocco)

1999: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

2000: Patrick Mboma (Cameroon)

2001: El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal)


2002: El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal)

2003: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)

2004: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)

2005: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)

2006: Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire)


2007: Frederic Kanoute (Mali)

2008: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)

2009: Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire)

2010: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)

2011: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)


2012: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)

2013: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)

2014: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)

2015: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

2016: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading

International Football

New twist in Cameroon football coach crisis




The coaching crisis in Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions has taken a new dimension as the football federation, FECAFOOT, led by former international, Samuel Eto’o goes in direct confrontation with the coaching crew appointed by the sports ministry which also picks the bills.

  According to a Cameroon official who will not like to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, the claims and counter claims of both the sports ministry and the FECAFOOT led by Eto’o had been heard and decided by the conciliation and arbitration chamber of the Cameroonian national Olympic committee, which is a court in charge of sports cases in Cameroon.

  “What is in contention is not the position of the Belgian coach, Marcc Brys, but that of the Cameroonian assistants attached to him.”

  The source explained to Sports Village Square that although the employment of Brys by the sports ministry was initially contested by Eto’o, the former player has come to accept the situation.


  “In Cameroon, there is always a techenical crew of nine to 11. The foreign coach is allowed to bring in two foreign assistants, while the others are always Cameroonians.

  In this case, the sports ministry approved the list of two foreign assistants by Brys while also announcing another set of local assistants that included former international, François Omam-Biyik, one of the stars of Italia ‘90  and the scorer of the goal that gave Cameroon a 1-0 win over a Diego Maradona-inspired  Argentina.

  “That is where the problem is. FECAFOOT also submitted a list of technical crew that included Brys and his two foreign assistants but dropped the names of the local assistants with new ones.”

  In essence, there are two lists with both having three names as same, but differ on the rest.

 According to the source, the list submitted by the sports ministry was upheld by the tribunal which threw aside that of FECAFOOT.


  In another twist, FIFA has already removed the name of Marc Brys from the profile of Cameroon on its website. Only the name of national women’s coach, Jean-Baptiste Bisseck is listed.

The removal of Brys’ name is happening a second time as it was first removed at the end of last month before being reinstated.

Continue Reading

International Football

Cameroon’s appointment of Brys as manager suspended by sports tribunal



Marc Brys

Cameroon’s appointment of Belgian Marc Brys as head coach was suspended by the country’s top sports tribunal on Tuesday following the petition of an amateur football club.

The country’s sports ministry stirred controversy last month when it named 61-year-old Brys as manager of the Indomitable Lions without consulting the football federation (FECAFOOT).

The move sparked a dispute between the sports ministry and FECAFOOT, which said the government had made a unilateral decision.

In response, it asked its president Samuel Eto’o to propose a national coach and other management staff for the national side within 72 hours, deepening its standoff with the sports ministry.

Eto’o kept Brys as head coach but named different assistants, technical, medical and administrative staff.


An amateur club, meanwhile, took the matter to the Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber of the Cameroon National Olympic and Sports Committee.

In a provisional ruling on Tuesday, the court suspended the FECAFOOT appointments while it fully examined the matter. Concerned parties have 24 hours to appeal.

FECAFOOT in response said it “reserves the right to refer these decisions to FIFA, as they hinder the preparation process for the forthcoming sport events.

“The Emergency Committee of FECAFOOT will meet immediately to take appropriate measures,” it said in a statement.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has strict rules against government interference in national federations and has frequently banned countries when governments get involved in federation affairs.


The president of the Cameroon Association of Amateur Football Clubs, Balla Ongolo Henri, had previously said Eto’o’s appointments would damage Cameroon’s image and disrupt preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next June.

Brys, 61, penned a contract on May 8 as head coach of the Indomitable Lions following the dismissal of Rigobert Song in February. FECAFOOT did not attend the signing ceremony.

The sports ministry says it has acted in accordance with national and international regulations.


Continue Reading

International Football

Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals



African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.


Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.



Continue Reading

Most Viewed