By Isaac Salima:
Malawi national football team Coach, Meck Mwase, voted for Senegalese forward Sadio Mane whereas Captain John Lanjesi opted for The Netherland’s midfielder Frenkie De Jong for 2019 Fifa Best Player award.
Mwase voted for Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) as his second and third options whereas Lanjesi went for Juventus’ Matthijs de Light for second best player and Ronaldo as the third option.
“As a defender, I voted for fellow defensive players. I don’t think [Lionel] Messi deserved the award. If anything, they should have given it to Ronaldo,” the Nyasa Big Bullets captain said.
Barcelona’s Argentine magician Messi was announced as the winner of the award for a record sixth time on Monday evening, shrugging off competition from his Portuguese rival Ronaldo and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).
Messi, Ronaldo and Van Dijk, who was recently voted Uefa best player, made the final short-list of the award which is voted for by national team captains, coaches and a representative of the sports media in each country.
De Jong of Barcelona and Liverpool’s Mane were on the initial list of the nominees but did not make final top-three.
Times Group’s Peter Kanjere represented Malawi media in voting correctly for Messi who is now ahead of Ronaldo’s five awards.
Kanjere had Ronaldo and Mane as his second and third choice best players.
Messi was Uefa Champions League top scorer with 12 goals, overall scorer in all leading football leagues (36 goals) and helped Barcelona to La Liga championship and guided Argentina to a bronze finish at Copa America.
However, critics question Messi’s performance in Argentina colours.
As Argentina skipper, Messi voted for Mane as his first choice followed by Ronaldo and De Jong whereas the Portugal captain opted for de Light as his first option followed by De Jong and Kylian Mbappe (France and PSG).
Van Dijk, in his capacity as The Netherland’s skipper, voted for Messi as his first choice followed by Mane and Salah.
Fans voted online for Fifa Puskas award for best goal scored and this went to Romanian-born Hungarian forward Daniel Zsori, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp won the men’s coach of the year accolade and Alisson Becker got the goalkeeper prize.
American Megan Rapinoe claimed the women’s top prize, with her coach Jill Ellis bagging the women’s coaching award.
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa won the fair play award.
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