By Johnny Edward: Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad has explained why the categories for the African based best player and best referee were scrapped for this year’s edition of the Aiteo CAF Awards billed to hold in Ghana Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Ahmad told journalists during a media conference at the International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana on Wednesday that the body cancelled the award to avoid duplication.
Al Ahly and Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi was in the running for the award for African Player of the Year- based in Africa.
Other nominees were Achraf Bencharki of Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club, Ahmed Fathi of Egypt and Al Ahly, Ali Maaloul (Tunisia and Al Ahly), Aristide Bance (Burkina Faso and El Masry) and Ben Malango (DR Congo and TP Mazembe).
“One award will serve all the African players for the Aiteo CAF awards for 2017,” Ahmad revealed during the press conference.
“We don’t want to duplicate the award by making one bigger than the other.
“The Referees award was scrapped because CAF believes in the ethical awards could encourage corruption and manipulation in games.”
The CAF President also thanked Liverpool Football Club for allowing their forwards Mohammed Salah and Saido Mane to attend the award despite their English Premier League fixture congestion.
He also revealed that CAF will be integrating African legends to all CAF activities to ensure the former footballers give back after retirement.
Both Mane and Salah are in the running for the 2017 African Footballer of the Year award. Salah was voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year in December.
Riyad Mahrez of Algeria won the CAF player of the Year award in 2016.