The City of Accra, capital of the Republic of Ghana, is already agog with excitement as it prepares to host the 2017 Aiteo CAF Awards today.
AITEO Group, Nigeria’s leading energy solution company and Official Optimum Partner of the Nigeria Football Federation, signed a contract with the Confederation of African Football in October 2017 to bankrolling the event for the first time.
Liverpool of England and Egyptian striker, Mohamed Salah is favour to add the African Player of the Year award in Ghana to his rapidly expanding collection of individual honours.
The Egyptian, scorer of 23 goals in all competitions midway through his first season at Anfield, has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year and Arab Player of the Year.
Salah, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Gabon are the contenders for the highest African individual football honour.
The scoring feats of Salah have installed him as the public and media favourite to succeed Algeria and Leicester City midfielder as the No 1 African footballer.
Nigeria’s specific interests in tonight’s event can be found in the Women African Player of the Year award with Asisat Oshoala again in contention. Oshoala is in the race with Cameroon’s Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and South African Chrestina Kgatlana.
Nigeria’s interest for today event is also in the Men’s National Team of the Year which the Super Eagles of Nigeria is involved and the Women’s National Team of the Year, featuring the Nigeria U-20 girls. Super Eagles’ technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, is in the race for Coach of the Year award.
From the inaugural Awards in 1992, there have been 16 winners including four Nigerians (one of them, Rashidi Yekini, now of blessed memory), while John Mikel Obi was runner –up in 2013 and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama came third in 2014.
1992: Abedi Pele (Ghana)
1993: Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria)
1994: Emmanuel Amuneke (Nigeria)
1995: George Weah (Liberia)
1996: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)
1997: Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria)
1998: Mustapha Hadji (Morocco)
1999: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)
2000: Patrick Mboma (Cameroon)
2001: El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal)
2002: El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal)
2003: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)
2004: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)
2005: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)
2006: Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire)
2007: Frederic Kanoute (Mali)
2008: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
2009: Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire)
2010: Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon)
2011: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)
2012: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)
2013: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)
2014: Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire)
2015: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)