Three 'losers' have punched last Saturday's Premier League Awards, one of them labelling it as pre-determined, after a combined effect of public voting and judgment by technical experts left highly-rated nominees empty handed.
Ashantigold Chief Executive, Kudjoe Fianoo, Coach David Duncan also of Ashantigold, and Hearts of Oak's Coach Mitko Dobrez are crying foul over the awards that eluded them in categories that appeared destined for their hands after leading their sides to good places in the 2006/2007 Premier League.
The ceremony honoured King Faisal's Kweku Essien's efforts as the best player of the 2006/2007 season with a VW Golf saloon car.
Marring the serenity of last Saturday's event, attended by Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the three football personalities emerged from a gathering of 400 footballers, sports administrators, coaches, referees, journalists and fans, to proclaim their displeasure about awards whose outcome were partly decided by a 40 per cent public vote.
Mr Fianoo, himself a member of the Ghana Football Association's Executive Committee and a fierce critic of the system, said he neither expected to be named Chairman of the Year nor was he surprised at being ignored for an award that went to the chairman of the league's seventh-placed Accra Great Olympics, Eric Afotey Odai.
“I am not surprised because I am not the favourite of the system,” Mr Fianoo, whose side improved from the previous season's ninth place to second place in the just-ended season, said.
Mr Afotey Odai, however, appeared advantaged by his club's rise from Division One in the previous season to seventh place in the relevant season, for which reason Olympics won the Most Improved Club Award, too.
Like his Chief Executive, Coach Duncan felt the entire process symbolised dishonesty.
But Hearts coach, Dobrez, more liberal despite the obvious disappointment, wondered how the nominations went without a single one from his league-winning squad.
While congratulating Heart of Lions' Hans van der Pluym as Coach of the Year after moving his club from the 2005 league's 13th place to their recent fourth place, Dobrez still showed surprise at the choice he beat twice in the season on his way to winning the league title with Hearts.
“Pluym is a good coach, it shows in his tactics, but he was fourth and we beat him twice. I also can't understand that the league winners don't have a single player among the nominations, that nobody thought players like Charles Vardis and Stephen Ofei were good enough for any award,” he told the Graphic Sports.
But organisers said mere position on the league table was not enough to guarantee anybody an award.
Mr Welbeck Abra-Appiah, Chairman of the Professional League Board, said the criteria for Chairman of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Best Player awards, like most of the categories, included performance and general comportment on and off the field during the season.
For the Chairman of the Year award, the criteria ranged from personal comportment of the individual on and off the field to consistency with one club during the season, human/public relations to total performance with the club during the season.
Coach of the Year award had personal comportment on and off the field, consistency with one club during the season, human/public relations and technical competence based on the total performance of a team during the season as its criteria.
These criteria aside, the public had a 40 per cent say in the choice of a winner through sms texting, with the remaining 60 per cent belonging to a technical committee of experts.
Based on this, Essien triumphed from a list that included Ashantigold's Alhaji Moro Sani and Liberty Professionals' Kwadwo Asamoah to clinch the ultimate award at the second edition of the awards night.
Other winners were Referee of the Year — Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoe; Goalking — Emmanuel Clottey (Great Olympics); Top Scoring Club — Heart of Lion (40 goals)and Best Behaved Centre — Carl Reindorf Park, Dansoman.
The rest were Defender of the Year — Isaac Vorsah (Asante Kotoko); Most Promising Goalkeeper — Ernest Sowah (Tema Youth), and Fair Play Award — Feyenoord.
Story by Michael Quaye
and marked by entertainment shows by rap musician Reggie Rockstone and songstress Mzbel,