Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
CONTINENTAL football mother-body Caf this week launched an annual legends game that authorities said will coincide with the continent’s yearly flagship awards event.
The concept was launched in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday as part of the 2018 AITEO CAF Awards programme held in the Senegalese capital last night.
Caf deputy general secretary, Anthony Baffoe, said the game was in line with the vision of the leadership to get more former players involved in the affairs of African football at the highest level and celebrate them for their efforts.
He said that the match will be organised annually in the host country of the awards ceremony with Caf using the opportunity to engage directly with the former players on issues affecting the game.
“This match to be played annually is part of the promise by Caf President Ahmad to get more of former footballers involved in the affairs of Caf.
“The legends must be celebrated and Caf is taking the lead with such matches for us to celebrate the role they have played in making Africa football better.
“This will also give Caf the chance to directly connect with the former players as their experience and expertise will be sought to improve the game in Africa,” said Baffoe.
There is no doubt that the concept is noble and must be applauded but its shockingly worrying that one of the greatest icons to ever emerge from the continent, Peter Ndlovu, who became the first ever African footballer to play in the English Premier League was not even considered for this grand occasion.
Even the Jungleman himself, Bruce Grobbelaar who won six league titles, three FA cups and one European Cup with Liverpool was also not part of the African legends that graced the occasion in Dakar last night.
What criteria is used to choose these legends? It’s worrying that a large number of these legends come from Francophone countries and while their legendary status cannot be questioned, surely the Zimbabwean duo, including Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya deserved to walk down that red carpet last night.
It is indeed a big shame on Caf that they didn’t invite these larger than life characters.
The maiden Caf legends match was held in memory of former Senegal captain and coach Jules Bocande, who died six years ago aged 53.
Bocande is regarded as one of Africa’s finest footballers having won the top scorer award in the French top-flight in the 1985/86 league season with 23 goals for Metz.
Nwankwo Kanu, Emmanuel Amunike, Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria); George Weah (Liberia); Joseph-Antoine Bell, Geremi Njitap, Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma (Cameroon); Alain Gouamene, Cyril Domoraud, Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire); Boubacar Sarr, Diomansy Kamara, Roger Mendy (Senegal); Frederic Kanoute (Mali); Mohamed Aboutrika (Egypt); Nourredine Naybet (Morocco); Shabani Nonda (Burundi); Jean-Marc Adjovi-Boco (Benin); Gilberto Amaral (Angola); Titi Kamara (Guinea) and Florent Malouda (France)