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01.03.2007 Football News

Ghana glows to host Africa

By gfa
Ghana glows to host Africa

The drums have been rolling out and the excitement is growing in Accra as the Ghanaian capital prepares to host for the first time a glittering awards night on Thursday, the 2006 Glo-CAF football awards.

Africa and the rest of the world have been counting down to the arrival nominees for various awards and in the wee hours Thursday, Chelsea duo Didier Drogba and Michael Essien touched down in the Ghanaian capital for the event.

Both players are competing with Barcelona's Samuel Eto Fils who is expected Thursday for the biggest award on the night, the African Footballer of the Year.

And another tight finish is likely for the African Footballer of the Year award.

Cameroon and Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o hopes to be named the 2006 CAF African Footballer of the Year a record fourth consecutive time.

Only two points separated Eto'o and Drogba last year and another close call is expected between two of the most prolific strikers in Europe.

There are six other African awards up for grabs - Coach of the Year, National Team of the Year, Club Footballer of the Year, Club of the Year, Young Footballer of the Year and Female Footballer of the Year.

Eto'o is aiming to overtake three-time African Footballer of the Year Abedi Ayew Pele of Ghana.

Liberia legend George Weah also topped the poll three times but not in consecutive years, a feat 'Pele' achieved from 1991 when he was playing for French club Olympique Marseille.

Eto'o was a pivotal figure as Barcelona won the European Champions League and Spanish title last year and his five goals made him leading scorer at the biennial African Nations Cup won by hosts Egypt.

Drogba helped Ivory Coast take Egypt to a penalty shootout in the Nations Cup decider, upstaged Eto'o by making it to the World Cup, and was a frequent scorer for English champions Chelsea.

Essien was third last year and a similar fate probably awaits the combative footballer in his home country despite inspiring Ghana to a first appearance at the World Cup, where they reached the second round before bowing to Brazil.

Michael Essien would be attempting to be the next Ghana player after Abedi Ayew Pele to win the African Player of the Year Award.

Apart from Michael Essien, the Ghana has three more award nominees on her cards.

Ghana has two other players and one of the national sides for the various awards categories for March's event.

The senior national team, the Black Stars after an impressive run at the World Cup where they became the continent's only country to make into the round of 16 have been entered into the National Team of the Year award category.

Other teams vying for this award alongside Ghana's senior side are reigning African champions Egypt and Ivory Coast.

For the individual awards, Black Stars striker, Asamoah Gyan guns for the African Young Player of the Year award.

Sheila Okine, a member of Ghana's senior women's team, the Black Queens has earned a nomination for the Women's Footballer of the Year award.

Nigeria's Cynthia Nwak and South Africa's Portia Modise are also in contention for the award.

Okine, is the third female footballer from Ghana after Alberta Sackey and Adjoa Bayor - both past winners, who is seeking the Women's Footballer of the Year award.

Aside the individual and team awards that are expected to highlight the night, there would be another honour for Ghana.

Ghana President, J.A. Kufour picks up the Glo-CAF Platinum Award specially created for government officials who have used their office to promote the development of football and foster peace in Africa.

The Ghana President, who is the second recipient of the award would be conferred with the special award on March 1 during the continents football awards night in Accra.

African Player of the Year:
Didier Drogba - Ivory Coast, Chelsea (England)
Michael Essien - Ghana, Chelsea (England)
Samuel Eto'o - Cameroon, Barcelona (Spain)

Young Player of the Year:
Boussoufa Mbark - Morocco, Anderlecht (Belgium)
Asamoah Gyan - Ghana, Udinese (Italy)
Taye Taiwo - Nigeria, Marseille (France)

Female Player of the Year:
Cynthia Uwak (Nigeria)
Sheila Okai (Ghana)
Portia Modise (South Africa)

Coach of the Year:
Hassan Shehata - Egypt national team (Egypt)
Manuel Jose - Ahly (Egypt)
Patrick Liewig- Asec Mimosas - Ivory Coast

National Team of the Year:
Ivory Coast
Egypt
Ghana

Inter-clubs Player of the Year:
Mohamed Aboutrika - Ahly (Egypt)
Nafti Abdelkerim - Sfaxien (Tunisia)
Didier Ya Konan - Asec Mimosas (Ivory Coast)

Inter-Club Team of the Year:
Ahly (Egypt)
Asec Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)

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