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Sports News
Can Essien Make It? 3/1/2007
For the first time, the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), would hold its prestigious annual awards ceremony in Accra. CAF was formed the very year that Ghana attained her independence from the British. The Glo-CAF awards ceremony is the biggest ceremony in African football. It is also the biggest event to precede Ghana''s independence celebration, which takes off into full flight on Tuesday 6th March.

Many sports and non-sports personalities are expected to grace the occasion. The event which would be held at the Accra Conference International Conference Centre would see President J.A. Kufour picking up the Glo-CAF Platinum Award specially created for government officials who have used their offices to promote the development of football and fostered peace in Africa. He would be the second recipient of the award after President Obasanjo of Nigeria.

The most prestigious of the awards - the CAF Africa Footballer of the year - would be keenly contested by Ghana''s Michael Essien, Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast and Cameroon''s Samuel Eto Fils. The Cameroonian has won the award three times.

Since Abedi Pele won the award in 1992, no Ghanaian player has won it. The closest that a Ghanaian has came was in the year 2001, when Samuel Osei Kufuor came second.

Michael Essien would be attempting to be the next Ghanaian player after Abedi Ayew Pele to win the African Player of the Year Award.

Apart from Michael Essien, the nation has three more award nominees on her cards. The senior national team - the Black Stars - after an impressive run at the World Cup where they became the continent''s only country to make it into the round of 16 has been entered into the National Team of the Year award category.

Other teams vying for this award are reigning African champions Egypt and Ivory Coast. For the individual awards, Black Stars striker, Asamoah Gyan guns for the African Young Player of the Year award.

Sheila Okine, a member of Ghana''s senior women''s team, the Black Queens, has earned a nomination for the Women''s Footballer of the Year award. Nigeria''s Cynthia Nwak and South Africa''s Portia Modise are also in contention for the award.

Okine, is the third female footballer from Ghana after Alberta Sackey and Adjoa Bayor - both past winners, who is seeking the Women''s Footballer of the Year award. Some of the Past CAF African Footballer of the Year winners have been as follows:

1992: Abedi Pele Ayew (Ghana)

1993: Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria)

1994: Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria)

1995: George Weah (Liberia)

1996: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

1997: Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria)

1998: Mustapha Hadji (Morocco)

1999: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

2000: Patrick Mboma (Cameroon)

2001: El Hadji Ousseynou Diouf (Senegal)

2002: El Hadji Ousseynou Diouf (Senegal)

2003: Samuel Eto''o (Cameroon)

2004: Samuel Eto''o (Cameroon)

2005: Samuel Eto''o (Cameroon)

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