Players absent from the African Footballer of the Year ceremony were ruled out of contention for the award, said the Confederation of African Football (CAF)."The executive committee of CAF at its meeting held in Accra on February. 1 decided that henceforth any player who is absent at its award ceremony will not be taken into consideration in its placements of best African footballer of the year," said CAF in a statement.
"This decision was communicated to all those concerned on February 1 with particular reference to the award ceremony scheduled for (the same day in) Lome, Togo."
The statement came one day after CAF Chief Communications Director, Suleiman Habuba, denied telling Didier Drogba and Frederic Kanoute they had to attend the ceremony to have a chance of winning.
"CAF has never called Didier Drogba or Frederic Kanoute to tell them if they did not attend the ceremony they would not get the award," Habuba told Reuters last Tuesday.
Mali and Sevilla striker Kanoute, who attended the ceremony, won the award last Friday. Cote d'Ivoire forward Drogba opted not to go to Togo.
Drogba said a CAF official had warned him the award would go to Kanoute if the Ivorian did not travel to Lome.
The Chelsea player, who won the award last year, told the French sports daily L'Equipe he had received a call from a "prominent CAF official telling me if I did not come to the ceremony the rules would be changed and the award would be given to the second-placed player”, meaning Kanoute.
"Without being disrespectful I don't think the attitude of those people honours Africa. If I didn't go to Lome it was because it was two days before a (Nations Cup) quarter-final and we have only one goal, to win the Cup," he said.
Source — REUTERS