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Sports Features Fri, 28 Apr 2017

NASCO player of the month award - If it must be done, it must be done well

As a committed advocate of the Ghana Premier League, I was delighted with the introduction of the NASCO player and coach of the month initiative by the Premier League Board as it is a good strategy of selling our league.

I believe if we tailor this initiative well and organise it properly, it will enhance the professionalism of the league and also encourage players to give their all in matches.

Selection into the Local Black Stars will also be given a simplified technique as players who win such awards will by far be given enormous advantage of being selected.

However, the method of selection and the criteria for the process must be made public to enhance transparency and to tame all arguments when a player is selected.

Selecting a player without making the criteria for his selection known is partly disrespectful to the football public in general and religious followers of the league like us, in particular.

If it must be done, it must be done well.

As the leading football web portal in West Africa, Ghanasoccernet.com has consistently provided Ghanaians with the team of the week after every Premier League weekend with a distinguished criteria for selecting players but the opposition and agitations from the football public have always been passionately remarkable.

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Even with a definite criteria for the selection, it has not been easy for Ghanaians to just accept our Best XI of the week, talk less of selecting a player of the month without any proper and definite criteria.

In selecting our Best XI of the week, there is a specific selection criteria for each playing department on the field; defenders, midfielders and attackers.

Even that, the selection criteria for lateral defenders is different from center backs and the same applies to holding and offensive midfielders as well as wingers and strikers. For goalkeepers, they have a unique criteria for their selection.

Let's for instance take strikers. The first criteria is to find out the number of goals scored. If a striker hits a brace or a hat trick and another scores just one, obviously, the one with the brace or the hat trick is chosen. In case we have four or three strikers who all scored a hat trick or a brace, then we look at the number of assists made, and then the number of shots on target, and then the total contribution to team play etc.

This is just for strikers alone. We have the criteria for all the other positions too. Even with that, there is always the problem of why this or that player was chosen.

So the PLB will do Ghanaians and themselves a great deal of good if they spell out how and why a player is chosen.

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Apart from making the structure of the selection of players known, another issue that the PLB will be confronted with will be 'who becomes the player of the month and the position he plays.'

All over the world, goal keepers and defenders have been discriminated against.

How often do you see defenders and goalkeepers winning the World Best? How often do defenders and midfielders win the EPL player of the week or month?

Attackers and wingers always have the upper hand because they score goals. But we forget that if they score, someone must defend that goal for them.

With the first list of nominees out for the month of April, I get the impression that the status quo will continue.

All the three players selected for the April Player of the Month are attackers; Daniel Lomotey, Stephen Sarfo and Winful Cobbinah. So does it mean that no defender or goalkeeper did well in the month of April? I disagree.

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In the month under retrospect, three defenders have been exceptional with their performance; Musah Nuhu of WAFA, Vincent Atinga of Hearts and Alhaji Wahab of Berekum Chelsea. And I think if for nothing at all, one of the three should have been nominated.

Musah Nuhu has not just been exceptional for WAFA, he has also provided an unbreakable shield at the back for them, making them undefeated in the month, conceding the least number of goals in the month under review. So why ignore such a player? Is it because he did not score?

Well, if Musah was ignored because he did not score, what about Atinga? Atinga scored for Hearts and has been the main rock to break to get a goal against the Phobians within the month. So why ignore him too.

One of the major reasons why Berekum Chelsea have had an impressive run so far this season is the partnership between Alhaji Wahab and Nicholas Opoku. Wahab has been exceptionally impressive for Chelsea and has been applauded by many who watch him play for Chelsea anytime.

Joseph Addo and Felix Annan have been the real inspirational figures at the back for Aduana Stars and Asante Kotoko. Check the number of goals they have conceded within the month under review and you will be forced to moot for any of them to at least, be nominated, as a player of the month.

I don't want to believe that you need to score to win the player of the month.

Strikers and wingers have been hugely favoured when it comes awards of this nature simply because they score goals relegating defender and goalkeepers to the background which is massively unfair and must not be replicated by all.

I strongly insist that there must be a special category of the awards for goalkeepers and defenders as the discrimination against them will not see them being strong contenders for such awards.

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com
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