African Footballer of Year award postponed again

JOHANNESBURG - The African Footballer of the Year announcement has been postponed to February 10 in Lagos, the Confederation of African Football said on Monday.

The CAF, who had already set two previous dates for the winner, most recently scheduled the annual awards function for Dakar on January 23.

They said the change was an attempt to secure the presence of all five nominated players led by former winner Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast.

Drogba has already said he has no interest in the award after a controversial decision to strip him of the 2007 accolade.

The other nominees are his Chelsea club mate Michael Essien of Ghana; Arsenal's Togolese international Emmanuel Adebayor; Egypt striker Amr Zaki, who plays at Wigan Athletic, and Mohamed Aboutrika, who scored the winning goal for the Pharoahs in February's African Nations Cup finals.

Drogba won in 2006 and had been expected to take it again in 2007. However it was given instead to Mali's Frederic Kanoute when the Ivory Coast captain refused to travel to Togo for the award ceremony.

Drogba said at the time that he had been told by CAF officials he would not get the award if he did not attend the gala, which came just two days before Ivory Coast's Nations Cup quarter-final against Guinea.

This year's finalists were chosen by members of CAF's media and technical committee. The national team coaches of Africa's 53 member countries now vote for the winner.