Flames coach goofs on Fifa Best Player award

Lionel Messi

Flames coach Mario Marinica got it wrong on the choice of the Best Fifa Player of the Year for 2022.

Argentina and Paris St- German forward Lionel Messi was voted as the Best Player at the 2022 Best Fifa awards.

Marinica, alongside Flames captain John Banda and legendary sports journalist Peter Kanjere, represented the country and were among the individuals that were chosen to take part in the votes.


However, according to leaked votes, which Times Sport has seen, Marinica voted for Manchester City and Norway striker Erling Haaland as the first choice, with Morocco and PSG defender Achraf Hakim as the second choice. Senegal and Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane was his third choice.

Marinica admitted that he voted for Haaland.

“Messi had a fantastic World Cup but had some tough time at PSG. Haaland had a fantastic year all round. Furthermore, he adapted quickly to the Premier League,’’ Marinica said.


Banda and Kanjere voted for Messi as their first choice but they differed on the second and third choices.

Banda voted for Brazilian and PSG forward Neymar and Hakim whereas Kanjere voted for France and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe and Sadio Mane.

In an interview from Mozambique, Banda justified his choice,

“I chose Messi because of what he did at the World Cup. You see Argentina had no big name players but he was there to make a difference,” he said.

On his part, Kanjere said Messi was the driving force behind Argentina’s World Cup exploits.

“He carried the hopes of an entire nation with his quiet charisma, ability to decide games in a flash and making the entire team play for him to achieve the only missing milestone on his rich football resume,” Kanjere said.

Messi, who inspired Argentina to win the 2022 Fifa World Cup, scored 27 goals in 49 games for both country and club in 2021-22.

Argentina Coach Lionel Scaloni won the men’s Coach of the Year award after helping them to their third World Cup title. Astonal Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez won the best goalkeeper award whereas Mary Earps won it the women’s category.

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona won the women’s Player of the Year award.

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