The aftermath of last Thursday’s African player of the year award has been quite dramatic and a bit petty I might add. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was crowned the new African king, breaking the four year reign of Ivorian captain and Manchester City star Yaya Toure.
The event also saw Ghanaian star Andre Ayew come third. It was to my surprise that I woke up to read news on Yaya Toure’s comment on “CAF’s decision”. Reading remarks like “I think that’s what makes the shame of Africa. We give more priority to what’s going on elsewhere than in our own continent. This is what is appalling” left me picking my jaw right of the floor.
Let’s take our minds back to 2013, CAF nominated John Mikel Obi, Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure for this very award for which Yaya came out on top. Bear in mind, John Mikel Obi captained his nation, Nigeria, as they won the 2013 African Cup of Nations. En route to this victory they eliminated a star studded (golden generation) Ivory Coast team (they were tipped to win the trophy) in the quarter final stage. That same year Yaya Toure was a midfield force in Manchester City who were the Premiere league leaders. Yaya Toure won the title ahead of Mikel with a 106 point gap though he performed abysmally on the continent. Why did he not come out to tell the world how Africa does not give priority to what goes on our continent then? I believe this move was out utter pettiness and is a shame to Yaya considering his caliber and class.
In 2014 Vincent Enyeama led his nation from the post as Nigeria managed a round of 16 appearance in the World Cup. Ivory Coast bowed out in the group stages losing to Greece in their last group game. There again Yaya Toure was part of a side that let Africa down on more time. Enyeama continued to impress in the Ligue 1 and Lille saw a 4th place finish. Aubameyang ended the year as Dortmund’s leading scorer but his side were struggling in the Bundesliga. On the other hand Yaya went on to finish the 2013-2014 season with a Premier League winners medal and came back to reclaim the throne as Africa’s Best player. Again no complaints here because he felt quite deserving since he performed well in Europe.
“We Africans, we do not show that Africa is important to us.” I completely agree with Yaya on this conviction. Yet on the occasion it works in your favor to keep quiet and not come out firing shots when tables are turned. I am not supporting CAF neither am I claimimg that Aubameyang is not deserving of the crown. I’m advocating for restructuring of how we choose a player to become the best of the crop from this continent. Complaints and anger gets us nowhere unless we exercise constructive criticism. Football is our beautiful game and whenever we sit to acknowledge those who stood out it must be true and fair.