African Press Association
Zimbabwe Warriors and Mamelodi Sundowns' ace midfielder Khama Billiat

Controversy trails CAF’s awards gala in Abuja

Zimbabwe Warriors and Mamelodi Sundowns' ace midfielder Khama Billiat

Zimbabwe Warriors and Mamelodi Sundowns’ ace midfielder Khama Billiat

ABUJA – THE just-ended Glo-Confederation of African Football
Awards have left a bitter taste among fans feeling the accolade for best player plying his trade in the continent went to the lesser-deserving individual.

Following a stellar past year for club and country for both players,
Ugandan goalkeeper Dennis Onyango pipped Zimbabwe’s Khama Billiat to the award.

Both stars play for Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa and were contending for the award alongside Rainford Kala of Zambia and TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo.

African football followers however feel Billiat, the reigning South
African ABSA’s Premiership Player of the Year, deserved the award.

“The young man deserved to be the African Player of The Year awarded to a local player but politics was at hand to sideline him,” claimed Seyi Onwenu.

“The manner the panelists arrived at awarding Dennis Onyango ahead of Billiat is shocking and unbelievable,” he added.

Nigeria national, Onyeka Owoh, shared similar sentiments.

“Billiat won the South African Premiership’s Player of the Year, Players’ Player of The Year and Kick Off’s Player of the Year and Onyango was nowhere near contention,” said Owoh.

“How the panelists then would opt for Onyango is daylight robbery. Such things always put football into disrepute. I believe his country’s bad reputation worked against him. Sports and politics must not mix.”

However, while comment could not be obtained from CAF, the voting sheets suggested Onyango attained 252 points to Billiat’s 228. Kalaba garnered 206 points.

CAF member associations, media representatives and a technical and development committee cast their votes.

However, the grumblings by fans is the latest controversy surrounding the awards held in Abuja.

A retired Zimbabwean footballer questioned the handling of the awards and music performances as “pathetic” and “a disgrace” to the continent.

Ahead of the event, CAF President, Issa Hayatou, was referred to Egyptian prosecutors for alleged abuse of office regarding a deal awarding the broadcast rights to several African football tournaments to a media company.

– CAJ News