By RON FANFAIR
Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o has made history by becoming the first person to win the African Soccer Player of the Year award for a fourth time.
Though he enjoyed minimal success with his country this year, the 29-year-old striker helped Inter-Milan win the European and club championships.
Eto’o won the award ahead of Ivory Coast and Chelsea forward Didier Drogba and Ghana and Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan.
“It’s a pleasure to be a winner again, to take it for a fourth time against such top opposition,” he said. “Africa now has so many good players and there is lots of talent coming up, so this might be a last chance for me.”
Eto’o, who scored 16 goals for Inter-Milan this season, won the award in 2003, 2004 and 2005 while playing in Spain for Barcelona.
Ghana won the Africa Team of the Year award while Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah was named the Young Player of the Year.
The national coaches of the 53 countries affiliated to the Confederation of African Soccer voted for the winners.
Meanwhile, the International Soccer federation has appointed an eight-man committee to organize elections in Kenyan soccer in April. Kenyan lawyer Joe Okwach will head the Independent Electoral Board mandated to deliver free and fair elections.
Soccer in the East African country has been embroiled in a leadership tussle for several years, pitting two factions – the soccer federation and Soccer Kenya Ltd. – against each other.
The International Soccer Federation (FIFA) currently recognizes Soccer Kenya Ltd. as the legitimate managers of soccer in the country. The national soccer federation insists that Soccer Kenya Ltd. – which FIFA says must convert to an association after elections – is a private company and should not be in charge of soccer in the country.
“This is a directive from FIFA and does not only affect Kenya,” said East & Central Africa Soccer Association head, Leodegar Tenga. “It comes as a result of complaints from the African body which is also against a private company running soccer.”
FIFA appointed Tenga, a former Tanzania soccer player, to monitor and follow up the process leading to the elections.