Former African Footballer of the Year Ibrahim Sunday has questioned the voting method used to pick the CAF African Player of the Year.
He believes the “opinion-based” system has ambiguities and may have cost modern-day Ghanaian footballers the crown.
Sunday, who made history becoming the first Ghanaian to win the prestigious award in 1971, was speaking to Football Made in Ghana’s Tales From The Past Podcast.
The 1970 Africa Cup of Champions (now CAF Champions League) winner is convinced the nominations made by a panel of technical experts from CAF plus former players and media tend to be biased. Under the award, coaches and captains of the 54 African national teams vote for the continent’s most outstanding footballer.
“It’s strange. One thing we have to know is that today the selection is different from the past and we have more French-speaking countries in Africa than English speaking countries.
“So if it will come to a vote, the French-speaking people will vote for their player, unless an English speaking African country has a player who is a genius.
“Now it’s more difficult than before, when France Football was doing it, it was a bit fine because they are going in for exactly what they’ve seen, but now it’s more about votes and opinions,” said the former Asante Kotoko skipper.
Seven years after he won the award, his fellow countryman Karim Abdul Razak scooped it, before Abedi Pele clinched it thrice successively between 1991 and 1993.
After Pele, whose sons play professional football, no Ghanaian player has won the topmost individual award on the continent.
In fact, one of Pele’s sons, Andre Ayew, who plays as a winger for Championship club Swansea City and captains the Ghana national team, came close to winning the award in 2015. He lost it out to Arsenal and Gabonese striker Pierre Eric Aubameyang.
The likes of Samuel Kuffour, Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyana have also comes close but failed to land it.
Sunday, however, concedes it is more difficult to win the award now as compared to during his days.
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By Mthokozisi Dube