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Date: 22 April 2019

  World - Soccer

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Drogba, Eto'o,Gyan on FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist

[Posted 27 Oct 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Can the Big Drog win the FIFA World Player of the Year award for Africa for only the 2nd time?


Three African players have been shortlisted by World football governing body FIFA for the merged awards of FIFA World Footballer of the Year and the Ballon d'Or, now known as the FIFA Ballon d'Or. A list of 23 players was released by FIFA yesterday.

Reigning CAF African Footballer of the Year and Golden Boot award winner in England Didier Drogba of Chelsea and Ivory Coast is one of the only three Africans who made the list.

Another African who joined the list of 23 is a Champions League winner with Inter Milan last season, Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o. Winning titles seems like something not strange to Eto'o's blood. He is a former winner of the same title with ex-club Barcelona during the previous season.

Black Stars of Ghana's World Cup star striker Asamoah Gyan is the third African player on the FIFA best player list. The former Rennes striker, now with Sunderland, is a surprise inclusion on the list, most probably on the back of his impassioned  performances at the world cup this year.

The question in every soccer analyst's and follower of African football's minds is: What are the chances of an African footballer repeating the feat achieved by Liberian and African legend George Weah in 1995?

Weah was the first African player to win three major awards within one season. In 1995 King George celebrated the amazing trebble when he was named African Footballer of the year, European Footballer of the year and to crown it all, FIFA World Player of the year.

Eto'o and Drogba stand a great chance to contest the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid, Lionel Messi of Argentina and Barcelona, Andre Iniesta of Spain and Barcelona, Arjen Robben of Netherlands and Bayern Munich, and Inter's Wesley Sneidjer.

The only dents on the two Africans' record is the poor performance of their countries at the World Cup. Both Cameroon and Ivory Coast were eliminated at the group stages in South Africa. But it doesn't look like only the World Cup performances will sway voters.

If World Cup performance was the main consideration, then World Cup's Golden Award Winner Diego Forlan of Uruguay will be a clear favourite. The second who would join Forlan on the list favourites would be David Villa of Spain.

It looks like club performances will be considered seriously.

It therefore leaves Eto'o, a Serie A title winner and UEFA Champions League winner with Inter Milan a strong contender for the award. The Indomittable Lions' captain has been a consistent performer at two different clubs in the past two seasons. That should count in his favour.

Drogba plays in the best followed league in the World, the English Barclays Premier Soccer League, and he won the Golden Boot award after scoring an avalanche of goals for defending champions Chelsea. He will be expected to be one of the top five contenders.

For Gyan, being selected onto the shortlist is an achievement in itself. No-one expects the Sunderland man to walk away with the top prize on 10 January 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland where the winner will be announced.

Spanish and German players dominate the list, with World Champions Spain contributing 7 players, while semi-finalists Germany have 5 players on the list.

The statistics in terms of club football are interesting, and they show the balance of power in world club football last season. Nineteen of the twenty three players came from only four clubs, namely Barcelona (7), Bayern Munich (5), Inter Milan (4) and Real Madrid (3).

The other four players were supplied by Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and little-known Sunderland.

FIFA and the sponsors have now changed the manner in which the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or will be selected. This time around the rules stipulate that both national team coaches and captains will cast the vote for the winner. 

Here is the complete list of the 23 FIFA Ballon d'Or nominees.

Xabi Alonso
(Spain/ Barcelona)
  Dani Alves
Iker Casillas
(Spain/ Real Madrid)
  Cristiano Ronaldo
(Portugal/Real Madrid)
Didier Drogba
(Ivory Coast/ Chelsea)
  Samuel Eto'o
(Cameroon/Inter Milan)
Cesc Fabregas
(Spain/ Arsenal)
  Asamoah Gyan
Julio Cesar
(Brazil/Inter Milan )
  Miroslav Klose
(Germany/Bayern Munich)
Philipp Lahm
(Germany/Bayern Munich)
(Brazil/Inter Milan)
Thomas Mueller
(Germany/Bayern Munich)
  Arjen Robben
(Netherlands/Bayern Munich)
Bastian Schweinsteiger
(Germany/Bayern Munich)
  David Villa
  Carles Puyol
Andres Iniesta
  Diego Forlan
(Uruguay/Atletico Madrid)
Lionel Messi
  Mesut Oezil
(Germany/Real Madrid)
Wesley Sneijder
(Netherlands/Inter Milan)


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