By Mark Baber
December 19 – ‘Tis the season to be merry, for gifts, family and, naturally, Player of the Year awards. Sunday saw the CONCACAF Premios Univision Deportes awards ceremony in Miami whilst the Confederation of African football has announced the nominees for its 2017 awards.
United Stated striker Alex Morgan and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas were named Women’s and Men’s CONCACAF Players of the Year in a vote which gave a say to national team coaches, captains, media and fans.
This is the second time Navas has won the award – whilst Morgan has now won it in successive years and three times overall.
In second place for the men was PSV Eindhoven’s Mexico international winger Hirving Lozano with Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union third.
In second place for the women was Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr with Portland Thorns FC player Christine Sinclair third.
Navas could not collect his award in person, as he had the matter of successfully defending Real Madrid’s Club World Cup to attend to on Saturday. Picking up the award comes as no surprise as his 2017 honours with Real Madrid include La Liga, the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
Nevertheless he sent his thanks to those who voted for him saying, “This award is a big motivation for my career, for my life and I’m full of pride to have won it.”
Morgan, also enjoyed great success in 2017, winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League, as well the French league and cup double whilst on loan to Lyon. Morgan also expressed her thanks to her supporters, saying: “It’s such a great honour to be named this. To all the fans who followed me throughout France and to the U.S., thank you so much for all that motivation. It really means a lot.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyan and the Liverpool duo of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have made the final shortlist for CAF’s 2017 African Footballer of the Year.
The final winner will be decided by a panel of head coaches, technical directors and captains of CAF’s national teams, as well as a 10-person panel of media experts.
Rather surprisingly it was decided that the Africa-based Player of the Year and referee categories would no longer be awarded, despite shortlists having already been announced.
Liverpool are looking to hire a private jet to fly Mane and Salah the 7,000 miles to the ceremony in Accra, Ghana – which falls on January 4, a day before the all-important Merseyside derby.
Nominees for other categories include:
Women’s Player of the Year: Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria and Dalian Quanjian), Chrestina Kgatlana (South Africa and UWC Ladies) and Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene(Cameroon and CSKA Moscow)
Women’s National Team of the Year: Ghana U-20, Nigeria U-20 and South Africa
Coach of the Year: Gernot Rohr (Nigeria), Hector Cuper (Egypt) and L’Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Casablanca)
National Team of the Year: Cameroon, Egypt and Nigeria
Club of the Year: Al Ahly, TP Mazembe and Wydad Casablanca
Youth Player of the Year: Krepin Diatta (Senegal and Sarpsborg). Patson Daka (Zambia and Liefering) and Salam Giddou (Mali and Guidars)
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