HomeSportSoccerBilliat comes second best in Caf awards

Billiat comes second best in Caf awards

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WARRIORS striker, Khama Billiat was beaten to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Player of the Year (based in Africa) award by Sundowns team-mate, goalkeeper Denis Onyango, at an awards ceremony held in Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday night.

BY KEVIN MAPASURE

Khama Billiat
Khama Billiat

Billiat had been widely tipped to walk away with the gong, but it was the Ugandan shotstopper who emerged triumphant, a development that drew fire from Zimbabwean football fans.

Some of the fans questioned the voting system, but yesterday Caf released the schedule of how the panel voted, which showed interesting patterns.

The panel comprised of coaches of national associations affiliated to Caf, a media committee, a technical and development committee and a panel of media experts.

Warriors coach, Kalisto Pasuwa was the only Zimbabwean eligible to vote.

Each panellist would give their first choice five points, the second four, three for the third, two for the fourth choice and one point for the player they ranked as the fifth best from the shortlist of five players.

It was also possible not to give the player any points at all.

Onyango polled 252 votes while Billiat had 228, Rainford Kalaba of TP Mazembe and Zambia, Hlompo Kekana and Keegan Dolly of South Africa had 206, 175 and 160, respectively. Five national coaches from Malawi, Namibia, Algeria, Liberia and Zimbabwe had Billiat as their first choice, while he had nine picking him as their second choice.

South Africa picked Onyango as the first choice, had Billiat as the second while Dolly was ranked third by his national team coach.

Interestingly, Kalusha Bwalya, who is in the technical developmental committee, picked Billiat as his first choice and had countryman Kalaba as the second.

The coaches and media experts gave Onyango 171 votes, while Kalaba was second with 153 followed by Billiat, who had 142.

The media committee also ranked Billiat (17 points) third behind Onyango, who had 25 points, and Kalaba, who had 20.

The technical development committee ranked Billiat, who got 36 points, behind Onyango, who had 40, while Kalaba picked just 12 and was beaten to third by Kekana.

Media experts ranked Billiat the best, as he collected 33 points, with Kalaba taking 21, while Onyango was fourth, a point behind Dolly on 16.

Ongango’s Uganda were named national team of the year after they qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in 38 years. Zimbabweans watching on television had to endure a long wait for Billiat’s category, as the programme moved at a snail’s pace and resembled more of a music gala than football awards, with so many artistes lining up.

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