On Feb. 11 in Lagos, Nigeria, Emmanuel Adebayor, the skilled Togolese forward, was chosen by Confederation of African Football's (CAF) as the 2008 African Player of the Year. In his contention, was Mohammed Abu Trika, the talented Egyptian attacking midfielder, and Nigeria's own Michael Essien.
Togo's Adebayor recorded a total of 74 points to beat second placed Abu Trika to the prize. With this impressive victory, Adebayor became the first Togolese to be recognized as the best African player.
But there's more behind this triumph than anything else.
Adebayor, with 30 goals for Arsenal has been a sensational player for the fans at Emirates Stadium. No doubt, Adebayor playing out of the African continent enabled him to seize control over the reward as well.
However, CAF has had many inconsistencies that have loomed over this celebration for many years.
Both CAF and FIFA, three years ago, clarified that when the final stages of these kind of awards arrive, "What the nominees achieve for their clubs and country would be used to determine the winner." Even if the "Chosen One" has won the majority of the vote without recording a single championship under his belt, the fans and the media have been made to comprehend that, to have the winning player's name carved on the award, it would be imperative for that player to have won a trophy.
Well, if this seems to be the case, how did Adebayor beat Abu Trika to this prestigious African award?
Adebayor, in 2008, had not won one championship with Arsenal. In addition, his national team even failed to make the 2008 African Nations Cup in Ghana, the top footballing competition in Africa.
Abu Trika had been instrumental for Al-Ahly's African Champions League trophy as well as the Egyptian National team's African Nations Cup triumph in 2008.
Some might contend that the footballing difference between the Egyptian League and the Premier League proves to be huge. Arsenal facing Chelsea is way different than Al-Ahly facing Zamalek (Egyptian Derby game). Rightfully so. However, that's not the main argument.
In fact, Abu Trika is not the first player that has been faced with these CAF inconsistencies.
Nigeria’s Austin Okocha is a victim of such rule. First, Okocha was denied the award from an argument that stemmed from the fact that Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o won the league title and the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona while Okocha didn't achieve similar accomplishments with Bolton and Nigeria.
Moreover, Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA's Best Player in the World award over Lionel Messi just because Ronaldo had won both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles.
Where's the consistency, CAF?