20th December, 2012
Ivorian Yaya Toure of Manchester City won Africa’s top football honour on Thursday, edging out his countryman Didier Drogba and Alexandre Song of Cameroon for the CAF player of the year award.
Toure, 29, claimed the prize for the second consecutive year, capping a season where he helped guide his club to the English Premier League title.
The giant midfielder appeared to tear up as his name was called at the ceremony in Accra, Ghana’s capital.
“I have a lot of emotion,” he said after climbing the stage at the Banquet Hall, Ghana State House, Accra, to accept the award. “I think this night is so special for me.”
It was nevertheless a night of joy for both Ivorien players.
Drogba, who moved from European Champions Chelsea, to join Chinese club Shenhua this season, said Toure deserved the award.
He said: “It’s disappointing to have lost the title to Yaya, especially in a year that I believe I played my best football for Chelsea. But, I must concede the award to Toure, he worked hard for it.”
A happy Toure said: “It’s unbelievable to beat my country’s captain, Drogba to win the 2012 award. It’s a great achievement for me to win the award for two consecutive times, and this will propel me to do more for Cote d’Ivoire at the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa, and my club in the English Premier League.”
The African Player of the Year award – Africa based was won by Mohammed Aboutreika of Egypt, while Rainford Kalaba of Zambia and Stoppila Sunzu of Zambia finished second and third. Al Ahly of Egypt won the Club of the Year award. Coach of the Year Award went to Zambia coach, Herve Renard.
Egypt’s Mohammed Salah won the Most Promising Talent award and Genovena Anoman of Equatorial Guinea went home with the Women’s Footballer of the Year award.
Referee of the Year award went to Djamal Alhaimoudi, while Rigobert Song of Cameroon and Mahmoud El-Gohar of Egypt were honoured with the Legend Awards.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Ghana U-17 team lost the Women’s National Team of the Year award to Equatorial Guinea. Zambia also won the National Team of the Year award ahead of Cape Verde and Cote d’Ivoire.
Chief Sponsor of the event, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr., who was represented by Bode Opeseitan, lauded all the nominees and expressed great delight that the awards have raised the standard of football in Africa.
“I believe that African football is growing and the competition for honours is getting keener,” Adenuga said.
CAF President, Issa Hayatou said watching the growth of African football gives him fulfillment, and praised Ghana for putting up a fantastic awards ceremony in Accra.
The event was anchored by former England international, John Barnes and Anita Erskine.
Tunde Oyedele in Accra, with additional reports by AFP