Cristiano Ronaldo got Malawi’s only vote on his way to win the FIFA Best Male Player Award on Monday night.
The event took place at the London Palladium where the Real Madrid and Portuguese superstar beat rival Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.
Ronaldo scooped the highest number of votes from national team coaches, captains and media representatives from across the globe.
Representing Malawi in the media category was seasoned sports journalist Peter Kanjere who got it right by voting Ronaldo for the gong.
“I felt honoured to take part in the vote for the third year running. Basically the organisers provide the benchmarks which we use to vote. They look for a player’s performance and consistency for both club and country. So I went for Ronaldo due to his inspiring role in Portugal’s UEFA EURO 2016 triumph and the steering performance in Madrid’s 2016 – 17 UEFA Champions League success,” said Kanjere.
The Blantyre Newspaper Limited (BNL) Editor then made a candid admission on his admiration for Messi but believed the former Manchester United star merited the award.
“Messi did well in his individual brilliance, but in terms of silverware, he didn’t win big with Barcelona and Argentina,” explained Kanjere.
In the Best coach award, the former Sports Writers Association of Malawi (SWAM) President got it spot on as well, voting Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane who was the eventual winner on the right.
“He is the first manager to defend the Champions League, a trophy he won with Madrid as a player. That is incredible, he deserved the award,” Kanjere said.
On getting it right in both categories, Kanjere said that is an indicator on how the country’s sports journalists are able to analyse sports at such a global level.
He added that it gives him the confidence that the local crop can make it globally if given the platform.
Last year Kanjere voted for Messi but it was Ronaldo who won the award.
Flames coach Ron Van Geneugden (RVG) and his captain Limbikani also cast their votes but they did not count due to late submission.
“There was a bit of communication breakdown, because the time FIFA asked for the entries, the coach and captain were in Morocco for friendlies,” explained FAM’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) Manager Casper Jangale.
He however revealed that the Belgian mentor voted for his country man Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City while Mzava went for fellow defender Sergio Ramos of Madrid and Spain.