CAF president Ahmad Ahmad has shed light on his outfit’s decision to do away with the African Best Player Based in Africa category at the annual awards gala holding in Accra, Ghana yesterday.
Having initially announced nominees for the 2017 edition, the football governing body decided to ditch the category which was instituted in 2005, amid criticisms from several quarters.
“It’s very simple – we want to promote African football,” Ahmad explained at a presser in Accra on Wednesday ahead of yesterday night’s gala.
“There are no two levels of football in Africa. Best is best, not best for the bad or best for the best. That’s the reason.”
Egypt legend Mohamed Barakat became the first-ever recipient of the African Best Player Based in Africa award in 2005 while Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango scooped the last honour in 2016.
Meanwhile. Best Referee of the Year category was conspicuously missing from the list of awardees at the Aiteo CAF Awards 2017 engineering several questions as to why it was omitted after the launch of the awards in a Accra last month.
Several commentaries popped up questioning the rationale behind the decision by the new leadership of the continent’s football governing body.
But the President of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), Dr. Ahmad, has poured cold water on the numerous agitations raised by saying the category was quashed because his outfit wants to guide against corruption in the game.
The explanation by the CAF chief stunned many at the presser but the intelligent looking Mauritanian insist that awarding referees could end up corrupting the system within which they operate hence the decision to quash it.
Addressing the media on the issue at the International Conference Center in Accra, Ghana, Dr. Ahmad said: “We don’t want to encourage corruption in the refereeing industry as we believe awarding then can breed corruption.”
He further noted that the best referees on the continent have always gotten the opportunity to officiate matches on bigger stages, hence no need to award them again.
“The best referees already have their awards by officiating at the biggest event in the continent and abroad. So they need no award again,” he added.
The strange decision by CAF and the lame explanation by President Ahmad could infuriate match officials on the continent as their contribution plays a key role in the serenity and excellence of the game.
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