Kevin Fine

Sentiment counts for nothing

2005-02-15 12:34

I've read several articles this week about Benni McCarthy's exclusion from the CAF player of the year nominees.

My goodness but don't South African journalists just have a way of justifying his exclusion. Well you know they say he missed the most prestigious tournament, and that he should remember where he came from, it's completely unfair they cry...

Has this country not yet learnt that we are late entrants into the world of African soccer. Shock and surprise, but the debutants are not French speaking, have no deep rooted history with the governing powers, and doomed to be the bridesmaid never the bride.

It's somehow always been pretty clear to me that winning the African Nations Cup in 1996 was always perceived as a fluke - bearing in mind that the Nigerians had been banned.

Now when it comes time to reward the continents best footballers, there is no space for Benni even though he's been instrumental in the capturing of the Champions League title and Portuguese Premiership for Porto.

What did Jay Jay Okocha do? Well he was the best player at the African Cup of Nations. So for six games, the CAF executives deem it fit to place this man who plays for a club (no disrespect if you're a supporter) of nobodys.

Maybe Benni doesn't care, but it sends a very clear message to South African footballers and administrators - that all this African sentiment counts for nothing, that it's a bag of really hot air being blown up our proverbial backsides.

Good luck to Samuel Eto'o probably a deserving winner given his level of consistency playing for Barca. Although Didier Drogba may have given him a run for his money,

Eto'o is sheer class - certainly good enough to walk home with his second consecutive award to be recognised amongst the likes of other consecutive winners Abedi Pele, George Weah and El Hadji Diouf.

For what it's worth, Eto'o struck another blow against the racist airheads this weekend who spent much of Barca's match against Zaragoza making monkey chants when he received the ball.

The African Player of the Year's response was to dance like a monkey at their fans when he scored. Another blow to the upsurge of ugliness in Spain that has captured headlines for months, and a bold stance for a proud player. Respect.

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