Why was Gervinho overlooked for CAF Award?
The final shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year award for 2014 has been announced.
Expectedly, it includes reigning champion Yaya Toure, as well as Nigeria captain Vincent Enyeama. You will recall that this is the top two as voted by experts on the inaugural AFS Player of the Year gong.
The third name on that list is rather more surprising. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a star of African football, and since his move to Borussia Dortmund in 2013 has come on in leaps and bounds. However, he should not in any way be in the conversation of Africa’s best player.
That he has got in there ahead of FC Porto’s Yacine Brahimi, who was the popular choice in the BBC Award, is quite a shock. While I never felt the Algeria international had a good enough year for the award, he would still seem a logical choice.
No, the player I am truly surprised to see excluded is Gervinho.
The Ivoirian’s failings are clear, and often unfairly blinker observers to his contributions over the past year. After powering AS Roma’s title challenge from the front with his flair, pace and movement in the second half of 2013/2014, he proceeded to be Ivory Coast’s most productive player at the World Cup in Brazil.
He scored twice, including a goal of pure quality in the 2-1 loss to Colombia, as the Elephants bowed out in unfortunate circumstances in the Group Stage.
He was not prolific in qualifying for January’s AFCON, but still scored twice in a topsy-turvy campaign riddled with uncertainty, same as Aubameyang for Gabon.
Overlooking Gervinho for the Dortmund forward is a huge oversight: granted, Aubameyang has outscored him 18-17 this year, but Gervinho has made more meaningful contributions overall to his side’s ambitions over the course of the calendar year.