A bow to the Premiership and its selling power as it rules the roost in global viewership. But if Didier Drogba deserved the African player of the year award so equally did Mohammed Aboutreika leading El Ahly to an unprecedented fifth Africa Nations Cup. In the Club World Championships El Ahly came a superb third behind some classic Aboutrieka goals. We do not know how much El Ahly pays its player but I am confident the $45 million that Chelsea paid for Drogba's transfer would cover the operating costs of El Ahly for the next decade. If you are talking of an African player playing in the Premiership shining a bright light on Chelsea then look no further than Didier Drogba. If you are talking about an African player playing in Africa and shining a bright light on African soccer then it does not get much better than Mohammed Aboutreika. One does wonder at CAF's selection criteria and what goes into making it. If the stats are right then an estimated 80 million people or more worldwide watch Drogba score goals against another Premiership club live every weekend. Aboutrieka's fame is through You Tube. You see how stacked it is against Aboutreika.
An injured Samuel Eto'o finished runner-up without donning Barca colours for most of the year?? Was Frederic Kanoute's fine form leading La Liga with 18 goals and Sevilla to a hair's breadth of the pole position inconsequential? I happened to watch Barca lose to Liverpool in the Champions League and the camera panned to a miserable looking Samuel Eto'o in street clothes. At that point if someone would have told Eto'o that he was the second best African player he probably would be violently sick. Michael Essien might be Chelsea's hummer but the untiring legs of Ivory Coast's Aruna Dindane and Mali's Seydou Keita are propelling Lens to a respectable second in the French Ligue.
Replace the current slate of winners with these three or four that I have mentioned and the CAF would have done more to recognize the strength of African players who have done more for African soccer playing in lesser known leagues and in the sum total of all parts they measure up just as well as Didier Drogba and more so then Samuel Eto'o and Michael Essien.