African Player of the Year heats up, but Aboutrika tossed

Daily Star Egypt Staff
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Samuel Eto o was named among the three candidates for the 2006 African Player of the Year Award, putting him in contention to win the title for a record fourth straight year.

But Egypt’s star player, Mohamed Aboutrika, who scored repeatedly in both the African Champions League for team Al Ahly and the African Cup of Nations this year was completely shut out from the final three.

He had been included among the initial five short listed but was ruled out on Sunday, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Sunday.

The CAF instead opted to nominate the same players as last year: Cameroon striker Eto o, who is currently injured and out of action with FC Barcelona, was named alongside Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba and Ghana midfielder Michael Essien, both of whom play for English champion Chelsea.

The trio was nominated in a vote by African national team coaches and the winner will be announced March 1 in Accra, Ghana.

Nigeria and Portsmouth striker Nwankwo Kanu has been also omitted.

The Aboutrika snub is likely to anger many Egyptian fans who feel he was unjustly dealt with in Tokyo during the Club World Cup Championship when he was reportedly told he would received the player of the tournament award.

CAF’s rational is that Eto o helped Barcelona to one of the best years in its history in 2006, winning a second straight Spanish league title and the European Champions League.

Drogba, who helped Chelsea win the English league for a second straight year, leads the Premier League scoring charts this season with 13 goals and has scored five in seven Champions League matches.

Only Liberia s George Weah and Ghana s Abedi Pele can match Eto o s three African Player of the year titles,.

Pele equaled Eto o in winning for three straight years – from 1991 through 1993.

Last year, Eto o scored 108 points to secure a narrow win over Drogba, with 106 points. Essien came third with 50 points.

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