The CAF award is the joy of every professional footballer or athlete, and it serves as the ritual used to appease and appreciate the good job being done by the players for their countries and club sides.
In this piece, we take a look at African stars who failed to win the most coveted African award while playing as a professional footballer despite their exploit for their clubs and the national team until they hung their boots.
Mohammed Aboutrika – Egypt
Aboutrika was widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers that came out of Africa and Egypt, he was known for his ability for scoring goals, his creative craftiness in pulling the strings in the midfield, and his versatilities in bringing his team to play.
Aboutrika greatness with the Egyptian national team continued when he won the AFCON in 2006 with the Pharaohs, and in the same year when he won the continent most prestigious title, Aboutrika was nominated by the Japanese newspaper to be one of the best players at the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan, and he also scored the winning goals at 2008 AFCON.
In 2006, Aboutrika was also nominated to win the 2006 Caf African Footballer of the year, along with then Barcelona forward Eto’o, and Chelsea’s Drogba among other nominees, during that time he was the only African based player nominated.
The Egyptian undoubted brilliant performance in that year made him a serious contender to win the gong, and critically the BBC award for African players, but in the end, he couldn’t win the prize but got the second position, and he went on to win the “Best Inter-club Player Award” and “Best Player in the CAF Champions League“.
Aboutrika also came second in 2008 behind Emmanuel Adebayor who was the CAF player of the year for that period, and in 2013 he was among the ten nominated players for the award, but he was crowned Africa based player of the year winning it for the third time winning in 2006 and 2008 respectively.
Aboutrika laudable achievements can’t be overemphasized during his career, but then the Egyptians will continue to be listed among African great that fail to win the most coveted CAF award.
Benni McCarthy – South Africa
McCarthy was the South African all-time goal scorer with 31 goals, he will always be remembered for his magnificent achievements with the Portuguese club FC Porto when he won the UEFA Champions League under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho to be the only South African to win the money-spinning UEFA competition in 2003-04.
The deadly goal scorer made his full international debut for South Africa in a friendly against the Netherlands in 1997, he also led his national team to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, prior to the World Cup at the Nations Cup he was named joint top scorer with 7 goals in Burkina Faso where he scored 4 goals in 13 minutes against Namibia, and he ended up to be named player of the tournament.
McCarthy’s legacy and achievements with the national team and for South Africa as a whole will continue to be relished, as he will always be seen as one of the greatest players to come out from Africa and his country of birth.
No doubt he was a legend, however, him not getting to win the Caf award will stand as a missing link in his illustrious career.
Austin Okocha – Nigeria
It will be an understatement if we say Okocha his one of the greatest players to ever don the Green and White jersey or played the round leather game in Africa and to a large extent in the world.
His name will continue to ring a bell in the ears of all football faithful in Nigeria, more so those that watched him play in 1996, with arguably the most successful Nigerian team at 1996 Olympic in Atlanta, where Nigeria triumphed over Argentina and Brazil to win gold.
The former Super Eagles midfield maestro was synonymous with the way he entertained the fans with his trademark skills and dribbles, and he will also be remembered for his exploit at the AFCON in 2000 where he shun like a million star which got him standing ovation from the fans.
With everything Okocha stands for in Nigeria, he was the unluckiest of all African stars who failed to win the CAF award, he lost narrowly thrice in his quest to win the gong, however, Jay Jay was top scorer and Most Valuable Player at the 2004 AFCON and he was also named among the Fifa greatest 100 footballers.
The former Bolton captain was a player per excellent, qualities, brilliant vision and skills, how he failed to win the African Footballer of the Year award remains a mystery to many football enthusiasts.
Ahmed Hassan – Egypt
The four-time AFCON champion remains the world’s most-capped male player ever with over 184 caps for the Pharaohs, and his achievements are unlikely to be bested any time soon.
Hassan played in eight AFCON tournaments for Egypt, he won the tournament four times, in 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2010, in the 2006 AFCON he scored 4 goals in six matches and he was named the best player of the tournament after winning his second title and fifth for Egypt.
At the age of 34 in 2010, he also won the AFCON for Egypt, he broke Hossam Hassan’s appearance record with his 170th cap for Egypt in the same year and he also holds the record for most Africa Cup of Nations won by any player in history.
The former Egyptian captain achievements and legacy for the Egyptian national team will continue to be what many young Eygptian players would always want to achieve, yet all his achievements couldn’t take him further to win the award.
Anthony Yeboah – Ghana
The legendary Black Stars player bowed to compatriot Abedi Pele twice and came ninth in the 1993 Fifa Ballon d’Or won by Italy’s Roberto Baggio.
Yeboah was considered one of the most prominent and prolific goal scorers in Ghanaian and African football history and gained a reputation for scoring spectacular goals which often featured in Goal of the Month or Goal of the Season competitions.
Yeboah is most noted for his time at European clubs in Germany with FC Saarbrücken, Eintracht Frankfurt, Leeds United and Hamburger SV in the ’90s.
He was capped 59 times by Ghana, scoring 29 goals, he also won the Bundesliga golden boot on two occasions in 1992-93, and 1993-94 while playing for Eintracht Frankfurt and he remains the third-highest goalscorer in the nation’s history behind Abedi Pele and Gyan, despite all of the aforementioned achievement, yet Yeboah couldn’t win the CAF award.
Seydou Keita – Mali
Keita was beaten to the crown by Yaya Toure in 2011, despite winning 3 La Liga titles, 2 Copa del Rey, 3 Supercopa de Espana and 2 Champions League titles with Barcelona.
The former Sevilla star made his debut for Mali in 2000, he also represented the Malian national team in 6 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, at the 2010 edition in Angola. Keita scored twice at the tournament, unfortunately for Keita and his team they couldn’t make it past the group stage.
In 2013 at the AFCON, Keita also helped his team to the quarter-finals via penalty shootout, and critically many will remember Keita for what he did at the FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria where he showed the whole world that he is a player for the future by winning competition best player.
Although many might argue that, often the goal scorer wins the award, but then he was good enough to have made it down the podium in 2011, and he lost to Yaya Toure, however, Keita will continue to be shortlisted among the great who fail to win the gong despite his wonderful achievements.
Micheal Essien – Ghana
Why the former Chelsea maestro couldn’t win the award despite his talent and his achievements for his club and to some extent his country still remains a big mystery.
Essien was synonymous with his style of play with Lyon playing alongside playmaker Juninho and Mahamadou Diarra who later joined Real Madrid from the back of a good season.
In 2004, Essien helped Lyon sealed their third consecutive league title by defeating Lille 3-0 at the Stade Gerland, and his final season with Lyon he appeared in all of their game as they were crowned champions for their fourth title.
Essien performances in the league result in him being voted the 2005 Player of the Year by France’s National Union of Professional Footballers, despite all of that Essien tied with Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure as the African footballer with most consecutive nominations in the award 5 times, but couldn’t win it and the only thing he could take solace was him finishing third three times.
Finidi George – Nigeria
Finidi was one of the favorite and was one of the greatest wingers ever to played for Eagles and was so good that clubs in Europe want him in their team, especially when Madrid and Barcelona queued for him.
The Champions League winner is rated 10th best African player of the last century according to the International Federation of Football History, yet the former Real Betis winger did not win the African Player of the Year award and was never nominated during his playing days.
Finidi represented Nigeria in 2 FIFA World Cups 1994 and 1998, a competition he already vowed not to play in prior to it due to him saying he will quit international football, but he did represent the Super Eagles 62 times during his career.
Asamoah Gyan – Ghana
Gyan made it to the last three in 2010, but he eventually lost to Samuel Eto’o at the award ceremony. The former Sunderland forward, who is the youngest player ever to score for the Black Stars, and also holds the record as the highest-scoring African at the Fifa World Cup with 6 goals also failed to win the most coveted award.
Gyan international exile lasting over a year, but in 2018 Gyan was called up to the Ghanaian squad for the 2019 AFCON qualification matches against Sierra Leone, and after he announced his retirement from international football a month to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which he did reverse the following discussion with the Ghanaian president.
Daniel Amokachi – Nigeria
The Bull came close twice to win the award in 1994 and 1996 but was beaten to the award by compatriots Emmanuel Amuneke and Nwankwo Kanu respectively.
Despite being one of Nigeria’s feared goal poacher, and the fact that he was the first Nigerian player to score in the Uefa Champions League, the Bull as he is usually called couldn’t win the award.
Amokachi will be remembered by Nigerians and Everton fans where he had his club career for how he bullied the defenders and his trademark dance, unfortunately for him despite his illustrious career the CAF award eluded him.
Samuel Kuffour – Ghana
The Ghanaian legend played over 250 games for the Bavarians when he was still very much active, winning 17 trophies in 12 years with the German side and he was nominated for the 2001 Ballon d’Or, which was a testament to how good Sammy was.
Kuffour lost the crown to Kanu in 1999 and Diouf of Senegal in 2001 respectively. In 2007, the Confederation of African Football voted Kuffour as a member of the top 30 African Players of all-time, but the former Bayern defense marshall couldn’t boost of one CAF crown.
What Kuffour did for football will continue to be cherished, particularly by the Bavarian fans but then not winning the award despite all of his club success still amaze fans.
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.
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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.
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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.