By RON FANFAIR
Three Ghanaians are on the shortlist of players for this year’s African Soccer Player of the Year award. They are striker Asamoah Gyan, who plays for English club Sunderland, and mid-field players Andre Ayew and Kevin Boateng, who are based in France and Italy, respectively.
The three face a tough challenge from three-time winner Samuel Eto’o from Cameroon and Chelsea’s Ivorian duo of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou.
Egyptians Mohamed Nagy and Ahmed Hassan also made the list.
The Ghanaians played a pivotal role in their country’s march to the quarter finals of this year’s World Cup in South Africa. Ghana was the only African side to make it to the final eight stage.
Gyan and Ayew played in the young Ghana side that reached the Africa Cup of Nations final in Angola last January while Eto’o helped Inter Milan win the European Champions league title in May.
Drogba, who won the award in 2006 and last year, was pivotal for the Chelsea team that clinched the English Premier League title last May.
The two Egyptian players were shortlisted for their contribution to the Pharaohs side that won the Africa Cup of Nations for the sixth time. Nagy and Hassan were also given the nod in the Best African Player on the Continent category.
Meanwhile, the Kenyan government says it’s prepared to risk an International Soccer Federation (FIFA) ban by taking over the administration of the sport in the East African country.
“We have told FIFA that if they can’t clean up our soccer, we will have to do it ourselves,” said Sports Minister Otuoma Nyongesa.
The move could lead to a FIFA ban since the world’s governing body for the sport effectively outlaws any governmental interference in running a country’s soccer federation.
“Intervention is not the same as interference,” Nyongesa argued. “We cannot have federations running without any sort of transparency or accountability to the public. You cannot be responsible for an organization for 10 years and want to retain the status quo even though you don’t produce results.”
And, San Jose Earthquakes will be at Colorado Rapids on Saturday and FC Dallas will host the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday in Major League Soccer (MLS) semi-finals. The final takes place at BMO Field in Toronto on November 21.