Some decades back, Europe and the rest of the world related with African football patronizingly, as poor cousins who needed to be urged on.
But over the years, the achievements of the likes of Liberia’s George Opong Weah and Abedi Pele Ayew in the 1990’s has got the world showing some respect for the talents coming out of Africa.
Weah picked both the European and world player of the year in 1995 and a horde of African stars have been playing key roles in important club successes in the European championship.
The thriving English Premier League boasts of a good number of African stars who are regular fixtures in the line-up of their respective clubs.
This and the good runs of African teams in the FIFA World Cup have all combined to give fillip to the African skills exported to world stage through European football.
Perhaps, the greatest good came to African football five years ago when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the emerging telecommunications giant, Globacom signed a historic deal in Paris, France for the sponsorship of the African Footballer of the Year Awards.
The Mediterranean city of Cairo as the cream of African football personalities and stakeholders gather at the Intercontinental City Stars hotel play host to the very first Glo-CAF Awards ceremony on Monday night.
For Issa Hayatou, the CAF President, there is every reason to celebrate the partnership with Globacom which was renewed on August 27, 2010 at the CAF headquarters.
In the words of Hayatou, “Globacom has taken the awards to new dimensions and at CAF, our expectation is that in the next five years, they will do more to improve on their achievements and extend the acceptance of the event beyond the present level”.
This year’s award is historic both for the nominees and the record books. Samuel Eto’O is on the threshold of a historic fourth award while Didier Drogba is aiming to equal the three awards already under Eto’O’s belt. Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan is the strong force that is putting pundits on edge.