It was 'easy' for Nigerians to swallow the bitter pill when the final shortlist of three players for the African Player of the Year was released and Victor Moses was excluded.

However, many were left confused when the final shortlist for the CAF Awards was released last month and two categories were not listed.

These are the “Player of the Year-based in Africa” where a Nigerian, Junior Ajayi was among the front runners and the Referee of the Year.

Ajayi having been listed in the initial 30-man list made the cut, when it was streamlined to 11.

But any chances of Ajayi or other expectant players plying their trade in Africa to win in Accra on Thursday is now up in smoke as the CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad says the category has been scrapped.

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He explained in Accra on Wednesday that scrapping of the category was to maintain excellence.

Ahmad said: “We felt that a double standard could not be promoted by awarding distinctions for second choice. When you aim for excellence, you must rise to the highest standards.

“The goal is to work for the best players to stay on the continent. One can evolve in Africa and be the best player in Africa. We must create the conditions to keep the best on the continent.

In respect of the Referees' category, the CAF boss said: “Referees already have their rewards and marks of recognition. They are evaluated at each match by the Referees’ Committee and the best are designated for big games such as the CAF Champions League final.

“In addition, there is a risk of violation of ethical rules because this distinction can be a factor of corruption in the near future”.

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