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10.02.2009 Football News

Who rules Africa?…Essien, Adebayor or Aboutrika...Essien, Adebayor or Aboutrika

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

This evening at the Expo Center of Eko Hotel & Suites on the Adetokunbo Ademola Street in Victoria Island, Nigeria, the Confederation of Africa Football(CAF) will crown a new king of the African game.

The race for the Africa Player of the Year Award for 2008 has been narrowed to Ghana and Chelsea's ace Michael Essien, Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal and Togo and El-Ahly and Egyptian star player, Mohammed Aboutrika.

Connoisseurs of the game have tipped the Togolese international to run home with the coveted crown, having stepped in the big boots of Thierry Henry after he left for Barcelona.

The former AS Monaco star has since scored 30 goals in all competitions and has also played a key role in the Togolese national side's qualification to the final round of the 2010 Nations and World Cup.

Undoubtedly, the commendations by previous winners Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o have boosted the Arsenal striker's chances of reigning supreme.

However, Michael Essien, has equal chance of clinching the ultimate as well. His immense contribution during the last African Cup of Nations as well as the UEFA Champions League was phenomenal.

His long absence from the soccer scene, following a knee ligament injury during the Ghana against Libya World Cup qualifier and his English club's not too impressive recent performance, might go against him.

The former Lyon player's superlative performance has stirred his Brazilian boss, Scolari, to compare his work rate to that of five players bunched together, probably might boost his chances of emerging as tops.

Aboutrika has been consistent in the last four years, with his decisive goal in the Nations Cup final held in Ghana, and his assistance in El-Ahly's win of their record sixth African title.

This obviously raises the stakes in tonight's Glo-sponsored event. Salomon Kalou - Ivory Coast/Chelsea; Stephane Mbia - Cameroon/Rennes and Victor Nsofor - Nigeria/Inter Milan will battle for the Young Player of the year Award.

In the CAF female player of the year category, Alice Matlou - South Africa, Genevova Anouma - Equatorial Guinea, and Ngo Marylse Ndoumbouk of Cameroon will vie for honours.

Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria will scramble for the National Team of the year Award, while Alain Ouombleon – Cotonsport, Hassan Shehata – Egypt and Jose Manuel - El Ahly battle for the coach of the year award.

El-Ahly – Egypt, CS Sfaxien – Tunisia and Cotonsport – Cameroon have been nominated for the best club of the year award.

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