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African Interclubs Player of the Year: Who missed out?

18:14 SAST 2019/12/20
Jacques Tuyisenge of Gor Mahia celebrates v Hussein Dey.
Ed Dove profiles five Africa-based players who should have been shortlisted for the Caf award

The Confederation of African Football have whittled down their longlist for the African Interclub Player of the Year award to a final five, with Anice Badri, Kodjo Fo Doh Laba, Taha Yassine Khenissi, Tarek Hamed and Youcef Belaïli the players still in contention for the prize.

However, several Africa-based stars were overlooked for the original list despite their exploits in Caf competitions over the last 12 months.

Here are five who, in the opinion of Goal Africa's Ed Dove, ought to have made the cut.

Mohamed Nahiri

One of the most underrated players based in Africa in recent years, Nahiri is an athletic, goalscoring full-back who has represented one of Wydad Casablanca’s key goal threats over the last few seasons.

Nahiri scored four en route to the final, which was lost in controversial circumstances, and has reportedly lined up a move to Turkish giants Fenerbahce when his contract ends next term.

Only one full-back—Ali Maaloul—made Caf’s Interclubs POTY shortlist, and Nahiri can feel aggrieved for missing out.

Walid Bakhit

Another surprise omission, Bakhit ended the Confederation Cup as the tournament’s top scorer, having scored seven goals across the group stage and quarter-finals.

The Sudan international scored six in six in the group stage as the Omdurman giants topped their pool, with Nkana, Asante Kotoko and ZESCO United all failing to deal with the attacker.

Bakhit also scored in the second leg of the quarter-final against Esperance, to give the hosts hope at 3-2 on aggregate.

The 21-year-old is surely ready for a move to one of Africa’s bigger leagues.

Jacques Tuyisenge

Amidst the troubles in Kenyan football last term, it’s become easy to forget that Gor Mahia actually reached the quarter-finals of the Confederation Cup, before they were dispatched 7-1 on aggregate by RS Berkane.

Tuyisenge was influential during that run, scoring four in six group-stage games, including the winner against Petro de Luanda and Gor’s second against NA Hussein Day of Algeria.

Most significantly, however, his two first-half goals against SC Zamalek in Kasarani set the tone for K’Ogalo’s campaign, and sent the Kenyan giants on their way to a famous victory.

The Rwanda international has subsequently secured a move to Petro, where he has a chance to repeat his continental heroics in 2020.

Jackson Muleka

Caf’s decision to overlook Muleka from the longest for the award is, quite frankly, shocking.

The Democratic Republic of Congo international is currently the top scorer in the Caf Champions League—on four goals—with only Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of him in the standings last term.

Muleka netted three in the group stage—including a double in the eye-catching 8-0 demolition of Club Africain—and also scored as Simba were brushed aside in the quarter-final.

He was unfortunate to miss out on the LeopardsAfrica Cup of Nations squad as his visa was delayed.

Abdoulaye Paye Camara

It’s been a year of two halves for Camara, who excelled during the first part of 2019 with Horoya as they reached the quarter-finals of the Caf Champions League.

He was excellent in the victory over Orlando Pirates and the home draw with Wydad Casablanca, showcasing his positioning, defensive reading, long-range passing and composure.

This form put him into contention for Guinea’s Africa Cup of Nations squad, and he left Horoya at the end of the summer to move to Belgium.