CAF admits stripping Drogba of title

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CAF had initially denied Drogba’s revelation that a member of their organisation had phoned him to say if he didn’t travel to Togo capital Lome his trophy would go to Frederic Kanoute.

But in a statement today they backed up the Ivory Coast star’s claim.

“Any player who is absent at its award ceremony will not be taken into consideration in placements of African Footballer of the Year,” it said.

“This decision was communicated to all those concerned on February 1 with particular reference to the award ceremony scheduled for Lome, Togo,” read the statement.

Drogba had refused to attend as he is on duty for his country at the African Nations Cup in neighbouring Ghana.

The Chelsea player revealed this week: “I received a call in the afternoon (on Friday) from a high ranking CAF official.

“He told me that if I didn’t appear at the ceremony the rules would be changed, that I would no longer be first and that the prize would go to the runner-up, Frederic Kanoute.”

Sevilla striker Kanoute duly received the honour, with Drogba’s Chelsea teammate Michael Essien, who was released by Ghana to attend, in second and Drogba third.

“If I refused to go to Lome it was first for my teammates as you don’t organise such an event just two days before a quarter-final (Monday’s game against Guinea).

“I didn’t go as well because of the son of Ulrich Stilieke (the former Ivory Coast coach) had died,” explained Drogba.

Drogba said he was pulling out of future African Footballer of the Year awards in protest at his treatment.

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