By James Agberebi:
Former Nigerian internationals Nwankwo Kanu, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba are among past CAF African Players of the Year winners invited to grace the 2017 edition billed for Accra, Ghana on January 4, 2018.
This was announced on CAF’s official website on Thursday.
Amuneke was crowned the best player in Africa in 1994 with Kanu getting the award in 1996. In 1997, Ikpeba took over from Kanu as Africa’s best player before Kanu won it again in 1999.
Aside from the former Super Eagles stars, former players of the Super Falcons who have won the Africa’s Woman Player award are not left out as Mercy Akide-Udoh, Perpetua Nkwocha and Cynthia Uwak are expected to be at the event.
Notable names who will also be in Accra are George Weah, Abedi Pele, Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma, Didier Drogba, Mustapha Hadji and Badou Zaki among others.
A statement on CAF’s website reads: “All previous winners of the African Player of the Year since its inception by CAF in 1992 are expected to grace the Aiteo CAF Awards Gala 2017, scheduled for Thursday, 4 January 2018, at the International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana.
“From Abedi Pele, winner of the maiden edition in 1992 through to Riyad Mahrez, crowned in 2016, the winners who represent various generations will be given prominence at the ceremony designed to celebrate the key stakeholders of African football.
“Others are Nigerian trio, Emmanuel Amuneke, Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba, Cameroonian and four-time winner, Samuel Eto’o Fils and compatriot Patrick Mboma, Ivorian Yaya Toure, a four-time winner and countryman Didier Drogba and El Hadji Diouf of Senegal.
“The rest are George Weah of Liberia, Mustapha Hadji of Morocco, Malian Frederic Kanoute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Togolese Emmanuel Adebayor.
“Also, the women are not left out as previous Queens of African football are also penciled for the biggest assemblage of football stakeholders.
“The list of invitees is not only limited to previous winners, but also to other players and officials whose contribution towards the progress of African football cannot be overlooked.
“Meanwhile, Egyptian Mohamed Salah, Gabon’s Aubameyang and Sadio Mane of Senegal are the contenders for the prestigious African Player of the Year whilst the trio of Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria), Chrestina Kgatlana (South Africa) and Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon) battle it out for the Women’s Player of the Year.”