Malawian players continue to miss out on the shortlist for continental awards.
Confederation of African Football (CAF), the continentâ€™s football governing body, on Friday announced an initial list of 34 players for the 2012 African Footballer of the Year Award.
While neighbours and reigning African champions Zambia have four names on the list, Malawi has none.
Zambian duo Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu, who play for DR Congoâ€™s TP Mazembe, made it on the list together with Christopher Katongo (Henan Construction – China) and Emmanuel Mayuka (Southampton-England). Kalaba and Sunzu, who have already enjoyed a successful year, as they were part of the Zambian team that lifted this yearâ€™s Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, are the only players to also appear on the shortlist for African Player of the Year.
Soccer analyst and former Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Charles Nyirenda has blamed the continued absence of Malawian players on the list to lack of adequate exposure.
â€œWe have not done enough work to have players in mainland Europe. Our clubsâ€™ continued failure to participate in continental tournaments such as the Champions League is also a drawback,â€ said Nyirenda.
He also said the situation is worsened by the fact that the Cosafa bloc, which Malawi belongs to, does not have international club tournaments to provide the platform for exposure for local players.
Flames skipper Peter Mponda said it is tough for Malawian players to be considered for the award as the only country they are able to showcase their talent is South Africa.
â€œEven in South Africa, most Malawian players are reduced to sideshows. So, it is difficult to make an impact,â€ said Mponda.
The only Malawian players to have made the short-list of the CAF awards are late Cliffton Msiya and Kennedy Malunga.
Msiya was among the top 10 players in 1984 following his five-star showcase at the Africa Cup of Nations while Malunga was seventh three years later, after his stellar show for the Flames.
Among those that have been nominated this year are Cote dâ€™voire and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, who won the honour last year. Other big-name players on the list include Didier Drogba, Andre â€˜Dedeâ€™ Ayew, Alexander Song, Demba Ba and Gervinho.
The African Footballer of the Year Award is predominantly won by players based outside Africa while the African Player of the Year Award is dedicated to players plying their trade in Africa.
Thirty-four players have been short-listed for the African Footballer of the Year Award while 32 hopefuls are gunning for the African Player of the Year Award.
CAF said in a statement that it will announce the top 10 nominees for the African Footballer of the Year and the top five nominees for African Player of the Year (based in Africa) by late October.
Names of the respective 10 and five finalists will then be sent to national associations, head coaches and secretary generals to select the top three finalists.
The awards, which also include Coach of the Year and Club of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony on December 20 in the Banquet Hall, State House in the Ghanaian capital Accra.