The winner of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off in Gabon on Saturday will pocket $4million, an amount that the president of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou, says is a significant improvement on the $1.5m paid over the last four years.
The CAF president, who revealed this during last Thursday’s Glo-CAF Awards in Abuja, Nigeria marking the 60th anniversary of the continental body, said it also “starts a new cycle in the marketing of the commercialisation and media rights of our competitions”.
On a colourful night when Algerian and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez was crowned the best player on the continent, the CAF boss celebrated Guinea-Bissau for making their first qualification to the continent’s most prestigious competition.
“For this reassures us that our actions are enabling a veritable upward movement, as nations hitherto considered as minnows are now joining great nations in the spotlight,” Hayatou said.
The ceremony, which announced Mahrez as the best player on the continent without controversy for the first time, saw his closest rival, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, quick to shower praises on the Leicester City forward for the feat.
Ironically, as Ghana missed out on the awards, hosts Nigeria were the envy of many as they picked four awards. They opened the night hopefully when the Super Falcons won the Women’s National Team of the Year award, followed by the Most Promising Talent in Manchester City’s Kelechi Promise Iheanacho; Youth Player of the Year, Alex Iwobi of Arsenal; and Women’s Player of the Year in Asisat Lamina Oshoala.
President Mahamudu Buhari spiced it all up with the Platinum Award for his exemplary commitment and support for the development of football.
The other winners were as follows: Dennis Onyango (African Player of the Year – Based in Africa), Mamelodi Sundowns (Club of the Year), Mamelodi Sundowns Head Coach, Pitso Mosimane (Coach of the Year), Uganda (National Team of the Year), Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama (Referee of the Year), and Manuel Lopez Nascimento, president of Guinea-Bissau FA (Football Leader of the Year) for ensuring his team’s qualification to the Gabon 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations.