Africa’s leading indigenous energy solution company, Aiteo Group, is basking in the euphoria of a highly successful 2017 Aiteo CAF Football Awards that shook the Ghanaian capital, Accra to its very foundation on Thursday night.
A number of ‘firsts’ were established for the event before kick –off, and the turn –out of Africa’s elite in politics, business, football and entertainment raised the stock of the showpiece, and when CAF President Ahmad described it as “the best African Football Awards in history,” there was not a single dissenting voice.
Ahead of the day, legends and coaches of African football flew into Accra from all directions – it was the first time in the history of the Awards that all past winners were invited, alongside a coterie of former superstars, including Mohamed Timoumi and Lakhdar Belloumi. Nigeria’s Victor Ikpeba and Emmanuel Amuneke (who presented the Coach of the Year award) were in the mix.
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.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo of Ghana, former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, former President John Jerry Rawlings of Ghana (accompanied by his wife, Nana Konadu), the First Lady-designate of Liberia (Mrs George Weah), Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Aiteo Chairman Benedict Peters, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Deputy Governor Yetunde Onanuga of Ogun State, CAF President Ahmad, FIFA Secretary –General Fatma Samoura, Members of the Federal Executive Council of Ghana and Members of the CAF Executive Committee were among the personalities in the front row.
Presidents of CAF’s member associations, a strong team from the Nigeria Football Federation, the heavy presence of the Ghana Football Association hierarchy and an elite team from the Lagos State Government were complemented by legends and stars of the African game, CAF secretariat, members of the diplomatic corps, leading artists and other football stakeholders.
NFF’s team included its President and CAF executive member Amaju Pinnick, Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, Executive Committee members Ibrahim Gusau, Yusuf Ahmed and Sharif Inuwa, Chairman of Women’s Football Committee, Hon. Ayo Omidiran and a number of NPFL club owners led by the chairman, Isaac Danladi.
Aiteo chieftains Francis Peters (Vice Chairman/CEO), Obinna Onyearu and Ndiana Mathew, and Barr. A. U. Mustapha (SAN) were also in prominent positions.
The Lagos State delegation also included Steve Ayorinde (Information and Strategy Commissioner), Kweku Tandoh (Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission), Ayodeji Tinubu (SA to Governor), Adeyinka Adeboye (SA to Governor) Tunde Bank-Anthony (DG, Sports Commission) and Liameed Abdulgafar.
Two –time winner of the Africa Player of the Year and one of the best to have come out of Africa, Didier Drogba compered alongside South Africa diva Carol Tshabalala.
NFF President Pinnick told thenff.com at the end: “This has been a very exciting and colorful night. It has been worthwhile. Everyone, from CAF to Aiteo, is happy about the turn –out of the very first Awards that both are involved together and the NFF is also happy.”
Lagos State Governor Ambode said: “We are very happy with what Aiteo as an institution is doing for Nigerian Football, and that is why we are here to support them, to support the NFF and to support CAF. This has been a spectacular event and it is good for the image of Nigeria.”
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 bankrolled the event for the first time.
As expected, Egypt and Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah took the gong for the men’s title (ahead of Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) while Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala took the women’s crown. However, Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr lost the Coach of the Year crown to Hector Cuper (Coach of Egypt), and Egypt’s Pharaohs (runner-up of the AFCON and returning to the FIFA World Cup after 28 years) took the National Team of the Year ahead of the Super Eagles. Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi made Africa’s Finest XI.
Salah said: “For me, this is a dream come true. I genuinely cherish this award, and I dedicate it to all the young people of Egypt and the whole of Africa. My message to them is that they should never stop dreaming, and they should never stop believing in themselves.”
Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah
Woman Player of the Year: Asisat Oshoala
Youth Player of the Year: Patson Daka
Coach of the Year: Hector Cuper
National Team of the Year: Egypt
Women’s National Team of the Year: South Africa
Club of the Year: Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco)
African Legend Award: Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana)
Football Leader of the Year: Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania)
Special Recognition Award: George Oppong Weah (Liberia)
Platinum Award: President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo (Ghana)
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.