Wednesday Dec 04, 2019. 13:00
There has been an outcry from sections of the media and fans after Liverpool and Senegal striker Sadio Mane finished fourth in the voting for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, with many suggesting that he was let down by African journalists on the voting panel.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi walked away with the main prize for the sixth time, winning almost double the number of points as Mane. Twelve of the 46 journalists who voted from Africa had Mane first.
But another former Liverpool and Senegal striker, El-Hadji Diouf, believes it is nonsense to suggest voters should have rallied behind Mane just because he is African.
“Being an African footballer is of course a handicap, as the main decision-makers and influential media are not from the continent. But Messi deserves it by far. Sadio had an exceptional year but Messi, he is stratospheric,” Diouf told AFP.
Journalist Aboubacry Ba, formerly of French channel Canal+ Africa, had a different view, and says African voters should have backed their man even if they believed others had a better year.
“If African votes went to the continent’s stars, things would be different,” he also told AFP. “The Golden Ball is no longer played on the pitch. You have to give it to a player who sells, who amazes, but not only on the field.
“African voters have not understood that sometimes it is necessary to vote realistically.”