By James Agberebi: Former Senegal striker, El Hadji Diouf, has expressed his shock that legendary Nigerian midfielder, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, never won the CAF African Footballer of the Year Award, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Diouf stated this in a two-minute video on BBC Africa while commenting on the continued dominance of Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, and Real Madrid and Portugal forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, in the FIFA Best Player award.
Okocha finished runner-up to Morocco’s Mustapha Hadji in the 1998 Africa Footballer of the Year award.
He was third behind Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba on two occasions; in 2003 and 2004. Eto’o won the award in 2003 and 2004 with Drogba finishing second in both years.
Diouf, a former teammate of Okocha at Bolton Wanderers and who won the AFrican Footballer of The Year award in 2001 and 2002, also spoke on how it was difficult to win the FIFA best player accolade in the past.
“When we were playing, there were so many good players around,” the former Liverpool forward told the BBC Africa.
“Ronaldinho was unbelievable, Samuel Eto’o was unbelievable. There were so many good players.
“The world was full of very good players. It’s not the same right now. Right now we are talking about only two players Messi and Ronaldo. They’re very good players, they’re unbelievable players, but around 1998 Zidane, Figo, Big Ronaldo (Ronaldo De Lima), Ronaldinho, (Francesco) Totti, (Alessandro) Del Piero.
“In Africa, Samuel Eto’o, El Hadji Diouf, Didier Drogba, so many good players around the world.
“I think for our African brothers it’s the time to give everything to get it (Ballon D’or). For us, it was so difficult.
“Jay Jay Okocha didn’t win the (CAF) African Player of the Year award. I can’t believe it, and I won that in front of Jay Jay Okocha, Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba. Football was tough, but it’s not the same thing right not.”