Manchester City’s Ivorian powerhouse Yaya Toure’s nomination as the only African player on the 23-member shortlist for 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or World Player of the Year has attracted mixed reactions locally.
Flames coach Young Chimodzi, captain Joseph Kamwendo and the Sports Writers Association of Malawi leadership will, as part of the international jury, each cast a vote online in the selection managed by France Football magazine following its agreement with Fifa in 2010.
Last year, then in the absence of Flames coach, FAM technical director John Kaputa voted. Yesterday, Kaputa was not too keen to comment on this year’s nominees, “but there should have been competition with at least two players from Africa”.
Flames winger John Banda yesterday insisted that it was not fair that Toure is the only best player from Africa whereas Zimbabwe-based defender George Nyirenda felt Toure was the only best from Africa.
The player-list includes favourites Neymar Junior, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Phillip Lahm, Manuel Nuer and Gareth Bale. Some top African players that should have deserved nomination include Winfred Bonny, Asamoah Gyan and Gervinho.
“Yaya has been influential in Man City, helping them take the EPL [championship]. He was the only African midfielder to have scored more important goals in a season and helping his country to play World Cup,” the Caps United player said on Wednesday.
Voting closes on November 21 2014. The winner will be unveiled in Switzerland on January 12 2015. The names of the three finalists, that also extend to best coach (male and female), female footballer, will be released on December 1 2014.
“The international jury to which you belong consists of specialist journalists, national team coaches and national team captains, with the votes of the three groups each accounting for 33 percent of the final vote,” wrote France Magazine deputy editorial director Gérard Ejnes.
“The selection criteria are: performances for club and/or national team [particularly in important matches], fair play and general level of performance since November 30 2013.”