The 43rd edition of Sports Writers Association of Ghana awards ceremony was held last Friday and as is customary with such events, it didn’t pass without controversy.
This year, there were three sticking points. The winners of the Foreign-based Player of the Year, Professional Boxer of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year have been met with skepticism from some quarters. But do the facts vindicate SWAG’s choices?
FOREIGN-BASED PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Christian Atsu (Newcastle United), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid), Daniel Nii Adjei (Wydad Casablanca)
He was given the award. Despite emerging as arguably the most influential player of the Black Stars during the year under review, Partey could not lead the side to win AFCON 2017, although he bagged two man of the match accolades. He was also a member of the Black Stars team that failed to secure qualification to this year’s World Cup. He featured for Atletico Madrid as they suffered elimination in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, their worst finish since returning to the competition in 2013-14.
Daniel Nii Adjei
The former Asante Kotoko midfielder ended his five year stay with D.R. Congo side TP Mazembe by winning the league and the CAF Confederations Cup.
Why he was nominated remains a mystery. He won nothing. He helped Newcastle get promoted to the Premier League from the English Championship. He did not sparkle in any way in Black Star colours. So, why was he there?
The CAF Confederations Cup is the continent’s third biggest prize. Nii Adjei, in addition, won a league title, something Partey did not do. Atsu won nothing. It’s a bit of a shock, therefore, that Partey was given the accolade. Nii Adjei deserved it.
PROFESSIONAL BOXER OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Duke Micah, Isaac Dogboe
Micah began 2017 by winning the then vacant WBC international bantamweight title against Jonathan Aguilar at the Bukom Boxing Arena. He successfully defended the title eight months later against Jose Santos Gonzalez in the USA.
The current WBO Super Bantamweight champion fought just once in 2017 as he defended the WBO international bantamweight title against Javier Chacon at the same venue. He was given the award.
Dogboe fought once and won, Micah did so twice – and also won. In terms of prestige, the WBC title (which Micah won and defended) and the WBO version (which Dogboe won) have the same prestige. This leaves one wondering how SWAG opted for Dogboe, who did not have to defend his crown like Micah did. We can only conclude that awarding Dogboe was a wrong call.
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