Former Black Stars defender Sammy Kuffour in a rare show of magnanimity, declined the honour of unveiling the final three-man shortlist for the 2017 CAF African Player of the Year Award.
The former Bayern Munich defender who was selected to represent Ghanaian football legends at the unveiling of the final nominees for the prestigious awards, said he could not do the unveiling when his senior, Ibrahim Sunday was at the auditorium.
He therefore ‘begged’ the organizers to allow Ibrahim Sunday, who was a former winner of the award, to be the one to unveil the final three (3) man. Sammy Kuffuor’s gesture sent the auditorium of the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel- venue of the programme- into thunderous applause.
Speaking to Ghanaweb.com, Ibrahim Sunday, confessed that he didn’t expect that from Kuffour but was impressed and touched by his humility.
“Sammy is a very intelligent boy, he showed maturity and I am impressed. He is a legend himself but in this world, every father has a father so he did the right thing and asked me to unveil the players. I thank him very much,” Sunday said with a smile on his face.
Other legends present at the well-attended ceremony included, C.K Akonnor, Coach Kwesi Appiah, Maxwell Konadu, Azumah Nelson, Dan Owusu, Willie Klutse and many more.
Mohamed Salah, Aubameyang and Sadio Mane are the final three to compete for the 2017 African Player of the Year Award, after CAF pruned down a 30-man shortlist announced earlier in the year.
Mohamed Salah, 25, scored five goals to help Egypt qualify for their first World Cup since 1990. That was before his two goals guided the Pharaohs to final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, where they lost 2-1 to Egypt. He is currently the top scorer in the English Premier League with 14 goals and has netted six times in the Champions League this term.
Sadio Mane may have failed to lead Senegal to African title in January but he was an instrumental figure in Teranga Lions’ qualification to the World Cup for the first time since 2002. At club level, Mane has netted 18 goals for Liverpool this year.
Aubameyang, meanwhile, has scored 45 goals this year and is now the African with the most goals scored in the Bundesliga.
The list was trimmed down following votes by Head Coaches/Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF, members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee and a panel of Media Experts.
The overall winner will be announced at Awards Gala on Thursday, 4 January 2018 in Accra, Ghana.
Nigerian energy giants, Aiteo, are the headline sponsors of next year’s edition that will see players, officials and administrators who distinguished themselves exemplary during the year under review being honoured for their efforts towards the development of the game on the continent.
African Player of the Year
Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Dortmund)
Women’s Player of the Year
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dalian Quanjian)
Chrestina Kgatlana (South Africa & UWC Ladies)
Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene(Cameroon & Rossyanka)
Women’s National Team of the Year
Coach of the Year
Gernot Rohr (Nigeria)
Hector Cuper (Egypt)
National Team of the Year
Club of the Year
Wydad Athletic Club
Youth Player of the Year
Krepin Diatta (Senegal &Sarpsborg)
Patson Daka (Zambia & Liefering)
Salam Giddou (Mali & Guidars)
Referee of the Year
Bamlak Tessema (Ethiopia)
Ghead Grisha (Egypt)
Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)
Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)
Mehdi Abid Charef (Algeria)
Papa Bakary Gassama (Gambia)