It may be a bold statement to make but no African player will win the world's prestigious football Ballon d'Or until Africa starts respecting itself, writes Zambian sport pundit Puncherello Chama in the wake of Argentina's Lionel Messi winning it for a record sixth time.
By Puncherello Chama
A lot of people have asked why Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah after two brilliant seasons at Liverpool have failed to win the Ballon Do'r or even make the top 3.
The simple truth is that Africa doesn't respect itself.
Some have argued that Mane did well at AFCON 2019, helping Senegal reach the final and he also helped Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League.
But does AFCON count? Not really.
Zambia won AFCON 2012 and many expected the Zambian Captain Christopher Katongo to at least make the top 3 nominees but he didnt and the award was given to Didier Drogba for helping Chelsea win the UEFA Champions League.
This is not a by the way thing and is a normal trend for CAF and in 2017 Cameroon won the AFCON that year but no Cameroonian player was among the Top 3.
In 2015 Ivory Coast won the AFCON and to Yaya Toure's shock he was snubbed and yet he questioned CAFs logic after he had worked so hard to win the AFCON only for it to be awarded to Pierre Emerick Aubemayang for his work at Borossia Dortmund when Gabon couldn't even make it out of their AFCON group.
In 2013 Nigeria won the AFCON but no Nigerian won the African player of the year.
Egypt won the AFCON 3 times in a row and Mohammed Abou Trika was not given the award.
And the most surprising one was in 2008 when Egypt won the AFCON and Al Ahly claimed the CAF Champions League but the award was given to Emmanuel Adebayor whose Togo national team even failed to qualify for the AFCON that year.
You have to look as far back to 2000 as the last time CAF awarded a player who won AFCON as its player of the year.
CAF are actually the worst confederation in the world when it comes to awarding players for what they did in their own competitions.
All confederations do except for CAF.
The irony is that the current Ballon d'Or organizers FRANCE FOOTBALL were the ones who consistently awarded African players for what they did for their national teams until CAF took over in 1994.
Only one African player has ever been nominated in the top 3 of the Ballon d'Or and this is George Weah in 1995 which is ironically the first year when FRANCE FOOTBALL took over the awarding of the competition.
The truth is that if CAF can't respect its own competitions it will never count in the world and it disadvantages African players.
Who can respect you if you can't respect yourself?