Former Werder Bremen player Ibrahim Sunday believes the reason for the disappointment of Ghanaian players in their quest to win the African Footballer of the Year award in recent times go beyond the pitch.
It has been one miss or the other since former Olympique Marseille attacker Abedi Ayew Pele picked the last of his three honours in 1993.
Sunday blazed the trail for Ghana, winning the gong in 1971 after leading Asante Kotoko to glory in the now Caf Champions League. Karim Abdul Razak followed to claim the prize in 1978.
“It’s strange [no Ghanaian has won the award since 1993],” Sunday told FootballmadeinGhana.
“One thing we have to know is that today the selection is different from the past and we have more French-speaking countries in Africa than English speaking countries.
“So if it will come to a vote, the French-speaking people will vote for their players, unless an English-speaking African country has a player who is a genius.
“Now it’s more difficult than before. When France Football were doing, it was a bit fine because they were going in for exactly what they saw, but now it’s more about votes and opinions.”
Former Bayern Munich defender Samuel Osei Kuffour, ex-Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, erstwhile Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan and former Marseille and Swansea attacker Andre Ayew have all come close in recent times.
Kuffour came second in both 1999 and 2001, the awards going to Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria and Senegal’s El-Hadji Diouf.
Essien was placed third in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and second in 2007.
Gyan finished second in 2010 before Andre Ayew emerged third in 2011 and 2015.