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CAF 'fouls' Essien

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

Regardless of the grandeur and splendour that characterized the recently held Glo CAF awards in Victoria Island in Lagos, I left the Expo Centre of Eko Hotel & Suites not amused.

My reason was simple, the Continent's football governing body, the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) failure to reward Chelsea ace, Michael Essien for his outstanding performance in 2008.

I am not clamouring for the 2008 UEFA losing finalist because he hails from the same country as I do, but the game's aficionados will bear me witness that among the three nominees, Essien's work rate had been phenomenal.

Indeed, nominating him for three years running (2006, 2007 and 2008), is a feat yet to be chalked by any player on the continent.

When Ghana hosted the event in Accra, It was his fellow team mate, Didier Drogba, who emerged the ultimate winner.

One of the reasons that pundits assigned for Essien's failure to win the diadem then, was that he didn't appear in Egypt for the 2006 Nations Cup.

Prior to the knee injury he suffered during the Ghana-Libya World Cup qualifier in Tripoli, Essien's contribution at club and national levels had been something good to write home about.

He is a team player whose contribution can be equated to that of five or six players. Recently, his former boss at Chelsea, Scolari affirmed to the English press when he said that Essien's output is equal to that of five players.

And there is no gainsaying the fact that his absence in the “Blues” set up for this season might be the reason for their not-too-glittering performance recently, which has necessitated Scorlari's exit.

In the 2008 Nations Cup held in his native country, Ghana, it took his singular effort to power his country to win the third spot.

Prior to that, he contributed immensely during the Carling Cup and also helped Chelsea to reach its first ever Champions League final.

Experts of the game will agree with me that but for his yellow card offense which ruled him out of the 2006 World Cup quarter final clash against Brazil in Germany, the story would have been different for the only Africa representative at the 1/16th stage.

I have nothing against Emmanuel Adebayor who is now the king of African football, and the other nominee Mohammed Aboutreika, but I think CAF has not been fair to Essien after working tirelessly in 2008.

Comparatively, he stands tall among the other nominees in several ways, and therefore, he should have been crowned Africa's new kid on the block.

For me, he is one of the best midfielders the world has produced and deserves a pat on the shoulder by rewarding him accordingly.