On Monday, CAF announced its final list for the African Player of the Year. The "African Golden Ball" will be revealed during the CAF Awards 2022 ceremony, which will be held in Rabat on July 21.
On June 29, the African Football Confederation (CAF) unveiled a list of 30 players from which the African player of the year will come. This Monday, the African football body revised its list downwards, keeping only 10 players.. Several players like the Malian trio Bissouma-Dieng-Traoré, or the Ivorian Franck Kessié were eliminated from the race. But anyway, even with 10 players, are there really any doubts about the possible choices of the African Golden Ball?
Indeed, it is no secret that Senegal, champion of the last CAN in Cameroon, is eligible for most of the prizes of the CAF Awards 2022. In this case, that of the best coach, the best team or still the best goalkeeper.
But the same goes for the best player. How to explain, for example, that the Cameroonian playing in Lyon, Karl Toko-Ekambi, is a serious competitor for the Senegalese Sadio Mané, winner of the last edition in 2019? Or, how can CAF think that Ivorian defender Kalidou Koulibaly has a real chance of getting the African player of the year award ahead of Edouard Mendy?
Sadio Mané tipped for the African Ballon d'Or
Because it's no secret: if Sadio Mané is not, again, elected best African player of these CAF Awards, the prize will undoubtedly be awarded to his compatriot Edouard Mendy. Even the other names on the CAF list, like Egyptian Mohamed Salah ou Algerian Riyad Mahrez, although very good in their respective European clubs, are probably no match for the two reigning African champions.
Among the 10 players eligible for the African Golden Ball this year, we also find the top scorer of the last CAN, Vincent Aboubakar. The Moroccan playing at PSG, Achraf Hakimi, also has a tiny chance: Morocco, whose federation is led by CAF number 2 Fouzi Lekjaa, is the host of the CAF Awards, and Hakimi is very popular in Morocco.
Finally, the Ivorian playing for Dortmund Sébastien Haller and the Guinean playmaker Naby Keïta are the 9th and 10th players eligible for the title of best African player of the year.