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Fifa Bungles Player of the Year Nominations Again

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This article is a submission for the Soccerlens Football Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here.

Written by Justus Nkera.

I know that in matters of the selection of best players no two people can agree entirely, but I am increasingly enraged by the list of World Player Of the Year nominees with each passing year.

FIFA’s recently released 30-strong list of 2007 nominees smirks of the foul odour of the kind of political correctness for which Pele was castigated for his version of the 100 greatest players of all time.

It is not as if I don’t reckon that it is a tough job coming up with the list, seeing as I did make my own error in my first reaction to it. My error was to dismiss the listing of Juan Roman Riquelme while seconding that of Carlos Tevez.

MISSING: Werder Bremen playmaker Diego

IGNORED: Chelsea hardman Ricardo Carvalho

OVERLOOKED: Milan’s evergreen star Seedorf

When I gave it some thought later, it dawned on me that while I had written off Riquelme because His Royal Sulkiness had estranged himself from his club side Villareal last season and is still out in the cold on his return to Spain, the slow-mo playmaker had on loan in Argentina single-handedly led Boca Juniors to the Copa Libertadores title with classy individual displays home and away to Brazil’s Gremio in the final.

Riquelme had then proceeded to inspire Argentina to the final of Copa America and, even if he and his mates had choked when faced with their nemesis, his contribution at least warranted a place on the 30-man list more than his compatriot Tevez whose claim to fame in 2007 is belatedly saving West Ham from relegation, playing second fiddle to Riquelme at the Copa and scoring a couple of league goals (so far) for his new team Man United. But that exactly is my point.

The FIFA list for an award of such substance and prestige should be given a lot more research and thought than the obvious reproducing of the same big names (with a little doctoring) each year regardless of their form and contribution.

Let us just look at the top footballing countries.

How for example can Italy’s World Cup winners make the list as if this still 2006, never mind that Fabio Cannavaro struggled at Real Madrid and keeper Gigi Buffon was shutting out Serie B attacks in 2007?

So where on the list are Luca Toni and Francesco Totti, who were not content to bask in the Azzuris’ World Cup glory and have dazzled in Rome, Florence and Munich this year? And where is Clarence Seerdof?

If you cross over into Spain, it will shock you that Barcelona players (including Rafa Marquez) are littered all over a list that includes no players from Sevilla! Frederick Kanoute and Daniel Alves almost won Sevilla an unprecedented treble as Barcelona collapsed spectacularly; while Ronaldinho deserves to be on the list of 30 for scoring 20 goals in a slow season and the mesmeric Messi is the best player on Planet Earth at the moment, the former should not be allowed within a mile of the trophy and the latter should not make the final three which for me should have Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba.

FIFA’s political correctness is such that they will slam the door on a man whose star is fading and welcome with open arms one whose stock is rising, No matter their form.

Why else would they have England’s new captain John Terry on the list and omit the country’s former skipper David Beckham when the latter was inspiring Real Madrid’s revival while the former was struggling with form and injury? If a Chelsea defender deserves to be on this list, it is Ricardo Carvalho and not Terry.

From the Bundesliga, the list has Bayern’s Philip Lahm and no sign of Bremen’s Diego or Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart…

This article is a submission for the Soccerlens Football Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here.

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