Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha was surprisingly missing in the roll call of former nominees for African Footballer of The Year award, but ex-striker, Daniel Amokachi got a mention.
Footballlive.ng can also report that while two finalists, Vincent Enyeama and John Mikel Obi also gained a mention in previews for Tuesday’s CAF Awards ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, Okocha was missing and Amokachi was amazingly named among those who nearly got there.
While nothing was said about Okocha’s close shave to winning the CAF Award in 2004, 2005 and 2006, another one-time finalist who was left out of the roll call of memorials was former Eagles’ captain, Joseph Yobo.
The awards reached the 27th edition this year, with a repeat of the same last trio on the podium – Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Liverpool, his club mate, Sadio Mane from Senegal and 2015 winner of the gong, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Arsenal.
From 1992, starting with Ghana’s Abedi Pele, 17 players have won the most prestigious individual honour in African football.
Cameroon’s Eto’o was the first to be crowned on four occasions – 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010, which was equaled by Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure, first to make it four consecutively in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
However, the first player to win the gong on two occasions was Kanu, in 1996 and 1999, which was replicated by CIV’s Didier Drogba in 2006 and 2009, but former Senegal forward, El Hadji Diouf was first to win it twice in a row, 2001 and 2002.
The preview stated in part: “There are also several others who were so near and yet so far, including Ivorian goalkeeper Alain Gouamene in 1992; Moroccan defender Noureddine Naybet (sixth in 1993).
“Nigerian Daniel Amokachi, who regularly featured among the top ten (10) during his hey day, whilst Chadian Japhet N’Doram was virtually handicapped by the non-presence of his national team at the final phase of a major continental championship.
“South African defender, Mark Fish also settled for sixth position in 1996. Ghanaian defender Samuel Kuffour narrowly missed out on two occasions, 1999 and 2001.
“Others are Michael Essien of Ghana, who made the final three an unprecedented five times in a row – 2005 (third), 2006 (third), 2007 (second), 2008 (third) and 2009 (third).
“Asamoah Gyan, also from Ghana, 2010 (second); Andre Ayew (Ghana), 2011 (third) & 2015 (third) and Malian Seydou Keita, 2011 (second). So are Nigerian duo, John Obi Mikel and Vincent Enyeama, who finished second and third in 2013 and 2014 respectively.”