Contributed by Nkafu Gabriel
The FIFA “The Best” Awards that were held in Milan, Italy on April 23, 2019 have come and gone but the dust the event raised is still to settle. There has been a whole lot of controversy over the Best Male Footballer Award that was given to FC Barcelona and Argentine striker Lionel Messi. There are many who think the ballot was rigged in favour of Messi.
The Coach of the Sudan National Footbal Team Zdravko Lugaristic commenting on the issue accused FiFA of rigging and manipulation. According to him, he voted for Egyptian born Mohammed Salah as his top choice for the Best FIFA men of the year award. It was however surprising to him when he found out that his vote had gone to Lionel Messi. He adds that his voting form seem edited.
The Captain of the Nicaragua National Team Juan Barrera also thinks the votes were manipulated. In a recent interview, Barrera said he did not vote for the FIFA “The Best” awards but his name appeared in the final voting list showing that he chose Messi for 1st place.
Another personality who doesn’t agree with FIFA’s decision to give the best male award to Messi is African All time Football Legend Samuel Eto’o. Speaking at the end of the Award ceremony, Eto’o said he thinks Senegalese Sadio Mane and Egyptian Mohamed Salah are better choices and deserve a shot at the award.
The two prolific strikers were vital in helping Liverpool win the last UEFA Champions League trophy. It is however surprising that they couldn’t make it into the best player nomination and weren’t picked in FIFA Men’s world best 11.
To many football fans, especially those of African descent, it is an issue of race. They think FIFA always discriminates against African players when it comes to giving awards even if they are as good as or even better than their white peers. I mean, why would a list of FIFA men’s world best 11 not have a single African player, when we have the likes of Salah and Mane?
The Egyptian Football Association (FA) has demanded explanations from FIFA over Mo Salah’s missing votes. According to them, their vote for Mo Salah as FIFA’S Men’s player of the year was missing and they want to know why their vote was dropped.