Liverpool and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah was among 10 African stars nominated on Friday in a Premier League-dominated short-list for the 2018 CAF Player of the Year award.
The 26-year-old scored 44 goals for Liverpool in all competition last season, his first at Anfield after moving from AS Roma, and is set to be voted number one in Africa once again. Salah, having a slow start to his second season in Premier league, Salah is joint leading EPL goalscorer on 10 goals with Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal.
Salah and 2015 African Player of the Year Aubameyang are among five candidates from Premier League, with Manchester City winger Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, who won the award back in 2016 subsequent of helping Leicester City to a noteworthy historical Premier League title
While Senegalese forward Sadio Mane and Nigerian Alex Iwobi of Arsenal are other nominees from the most-watched football league in the world.
Asisat Oshoala has won three of the last five editions of the award, and in 2018 she helped Nigeria’s Super Falcons win a 9th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations title. If she wins in Dakar, the former FC Robo Queens star will become the first Woman to ever win three of the CAF Africa Women’s Player of the Year.
However, she’ll face tough competition from teammate Francisca Ordega and South Africa’s Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana, who was voted best player of the 2018 AWCON
There are two goalkeepers competing to wind up the first to win the award since Badou Zaki of Morocco 32 years ago – Cameroonian Andre Onana of Ajax Amsterdam and Ugandan Denis Onyango from South African club Mamelodi Sundowns.
French coach Herve Renard, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia and the Ivory Coast and is currently in charge of Morocco, is among three Coach nominated for ‘Coach of the year award”
Aliou Cisse of Senegal and Moine Chaabani, who guided Tunisian side Esperance to the CAF Champions League title in the wake of being placed in control of the team just one match before the final.
The award winners will be officially announced on January 8 in Dakar.
African Player of the Year
- 1. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria & Arsenal)
- 2. Andre Onana (Cameroon & Ajax)
- 3. Anis Badri (Tunisia & Esperance)
- 4. Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
- 5. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)
- 6. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
- 7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Arsenal)
- 8. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City)
- 9. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
- 10. Walid Soliman (Egypt & Ahly)
Women’s Player of the Year
- 1. Abdulai Mukarama (Ghana & Northern Ladies)
- 2. Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dilian Quanjian)
- 3. Bassira Toure (Mali & AS Mande)
- 4. Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Houston Dash)
- 5. Elizabeth Addo (Ghana & Seattle Reign)
- 6. Francisca Ordega (Nigeria & Washington Spirit)
- 7. Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moskow)
- 8. Janine Van Wyk (South Africa & Houston Dash)
- 9. Onome Ebi (Nigeria & Hekan Huisanhang)
- 10. Raissa Feudjio (Cameroon & Aland United)
- 11. Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Jiangsu Suning)
Youth Player of the Year
- 1. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmunmd)
- 2. Franck Kessie (Cote d’Ivoire & AC Milan)
- 3. Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria & Leicester City)
Men’s Coach of the Year
- 1. Aliou Cisse (Senegal)
- 2. Herve Renard (Morocco)
- 3. Moine Chaabani (Esperance)
Women’s Coach of the Year
- 1. Desiree Ellis (South Africa)
- 2. Joseph Brian Ndoko (Cameroon)
- 3. Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria)
Men’s National Team of the Year
- 1. Madagascar
- 2. Mauritania
- 3. Uganda
Women’s National Team of the Year
- 1. Cameroon
- 2. Nigeria
- 3. South Africa
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.