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Author Name: Suleiman Nasiru
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GLO CAF Award: Nigerians React
Author: Suleiman Nasiru | January 21, 2014

Nigerians and indeed soccer fans across the continent have continued to react to the just concluded global com Confederation of African Football Award held in Lagos Nigeria, where Yaya Toure of Cote'd Ivoire claimed the most prestigious individual soccer award in the continent, the African Footballer of the year against the expectations of many Nigerians who believed Nigerian John Mikel Obi deserved to win the award. Analysts said though Nigerians swept most of the awards that night, but a lot of them felt the African Footballer of the year award should have gone to the man who deserved it, who is Mikel Obi, putting his performances at both club and country in perspective in the period under review. Though many others have a contrary view, believing that the award went to the deserved player in Yaya Toure, according to Mr. Gabriel Charles a football follower based in Kaduna said though he believe Mikel Obi deserved the award because of his contributions to the success of the Super Eagles in the last year African Cup of Nations, which the SuperEagles won in South Africa and also his outstanding performance at club level, but said he was not disappointed because Mikel lost the award to a better player in Yaya Toure. On his part, Abdullahi Ismail said Yaya Toure deserved the award putting him side by side with Mike Obi in terms of individual performance and quality, Yaya is better compared to Mikel. He explained further that why most Nigerians thought Mikel deserved to be named African Footballer of the year is because of the African Cup of Nations he helps Nigeria to win and the Europa Cup he won at Chelsea, he said but I don't think CAF consider all these. Alexandra Charles Alkali explained that the fact that Mikel Obi helped Nigeria to win the Nations Cup does not place him on the advantage side to win the award, citing an instance when Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo won the award, in that year for both club and country Adebayor did not win anything, but was still named the African Footballer of the year in that time. So Mikel must do more than what he is doing now if he wants to win the award in the future. Yusuf Alhassan a soccer player who has plied his trade in some African countries and has tested the Nigerian local league said CAF made no mistake by picking Yaya Toure ahead of Mikel Obi, because individually Yaya is better and as such deserved the award. He said Mikel must boost his goal scoring ability and increase his confidence if he wishes to win this award in the future. But disputing this line of argument, many soccer fans said if CAF are considering individual ability of players, Nigerian Jay Jay Austine Okocha should have won this award severally during his playing days, because during Okocha active years in the game of soccer, there is no individual player in the whole continent that came near his performance, but Okocha never won the award for once. Another line of argument was that Mikel helped Nigeria to qualify for the Cup of Nations and went ahead to win it, was there for Nigeria for the world cup qualifiers, whose role help Nigeria to register her name among the nation to participate at the Mundial in Brazil latter this year, he was also at the Confederation cup, where he represented Africa well and at Chelsea Mikel helped the club to win the Europa League against all odds. Compared to Yaya Toure's performance, Yaya was at the Nation's cup, but his team was edged out by Nigerian Super Eagles, he only helped qualify Ivory Coast for the world cup and nation's cup and at club level, his contributions were not good enough to help Manchester City to win any trophy in the year under review. So putting both players on a balance, Mikel could be said to have scored 4 over 5 and Toure score 2 over 5 and if you are a teacher who would you award the first position in the class among these 2 students? Mikel of course. But based on information available to the press, we were told that 32 coaches of African national teams voted and out of the 32, 28 of them voted for Yaya Toure and only 4 voted for John Obi Mikel. This is also a talking point that CAF did not educate their coaches well on the criteria to look out for while voting. But many analysts still believed that sentiment play out here in the voting pattern, arguing that because we have more Francophone than the Anglophone in CAF and Toure is from the Francophone was one of the reasons he beat Mikel to the Award. CAF was also criticised for over relaying on other foreign competitions to assess their players against what was stated on CAF website, which said that the award is for the player who has impacted African football the most. And if you want to judge from what took place last year, you know Mikel Obi deserved to be named African Footballer of the year. And this is the argument of Mr. Kevin John who expressed disappointment that Mikel Obi was not awarded the African Footballer of the year, arguing that in the last year what did Yaya Toure contributed to the Ivoirian National team? But Mikel powered the Nigerian Super Eagles to win the Cup of Nations, his contributions to Chelsea's success in the Europa Cup all these CAF supposed to consider and name Mikel the player of the year 2013 and not Yaya Toure he lamented. But like his compatriot Austine Jay Jay Okocha who was robbed off the opportunity of winning this Award, Mikel Obi suffered from the sentiment and politics of Francophone and Anglophone playing out in the CAF over the years. Like many stakeholders have advised CAF to educate their coaches on the basis they were expected to vote, CAF itself must also be admonished to correct the inconsistencies people have noticed in the way they have been running African football over the years. All we have say to Mikel is for him to take heart and up his game this season in order for him to be considered again for the award in the future while we say congratulations to Yaya Toure the officially named African Footballer of the year for 2013. Nasiru Suleiman is an analystbased in Kaduna.... 07030476699

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