All Eyes On Mikel As CAF Names African Footballer Of The Year

•John Mikel Obi

•John Mikel Obi

The die is cast and the day is here as Confederation of African Football, CAF, names the winner of the 2013 African Footballer Award at an elaborate ceremony scheduled for Eko Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria tonight.

The Glo-CAF Award is the most prestigious in Africa as it confers honours on outstanding African players, coaches, supporters and administrators. It is bankrolled by one of Africa’s leading indigenous telecoms operators, Globacom since 2005.

Nigerian John Mikel Obi, who plies his trade with Chelsea Football Club of England is vying to dethrone the incumbent, Yaya Toure of Cote d’Ivoire, who plays for Manchester City Football Club in England. Also in contention is Ivorian and Galatasaray of Turkey star, Didier Drogba who had won the award twice (2006 and 2009).

•John Mikel Obi
•John Mikel Obi

Though Toure is favoured to win his third straight award, Mikel is being tipped by Nigerians to win it 15 years after a Nigerian player, Kanu Nwankwo won it last.

In the year under review,  Toure failed to win any major trophy for both country and his English club, but Mikel on the other hand won the Africa Cup of Nations trophy and the first-ever Europa League for Nigeria and Chelsea respectively.

The 26-year-old Mikel triumphed over Toure during the Nations Cup quarter final match in South Africa as the Eagles defeated Ivory Coast to secure the semi final ticket of that competition.

While opinion poll favour the Nigerian player to bag the award, some pundits gave it to Toure because of the amazing strength of character and skill he displays each time he plays for both club and country.

Mikel himself believe he has the qualities to be crowned the African football king tonight, just as he flew into Lagos with the jet of his EPL club Chelsea today.

“I am coming for the CAF awards. I will be flown in and out of Nigeria by the Chelsea jet. I will arrive on the awards day and return immediately after. It is an honour to be selected and nominated for the award. I am looking forward to winning it for my country,” he told

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi is also set to become the third Nigerian to be named the continent’s best coach.

He guided Nigeria to a third Nations Cup trophy and in November secured ticket for Nigeria to play in their fifth World Cup finals.

Manu Garba, who led Nigeria to win a fourth under-17 World Cup last year, and Belgian coach Paul Put, who handled Burkina Faso to reach the final of the 2013 Nations Cup, are the other nominees.

Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ethiopia will contest for the National Team of the Year, while Al Ahly of Egypt, Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien and Orlando Pirates from South Africa will vie for the Club of the Year.

Cairo giants Ahly extended their dominance in the CAF Champions League when they won an eighth trophy at the expense of Orlando Pirates, while Sfaxien won a third CAF Confederation Cup title.

Saleh Gomaa of Egypt’s under-20 team, Ghana under-20’s Ebenezer Assifuah, and Nigeria’s star of the U-17 World cup, Kelechi Iheanacho, will battle for the Most Promising Talent Award.


Past Glo-CAF African Footballer Of The Year Winners

1992 Abedi AYEW PELÉ (Ghana)

1993 Rashidi YEKINI (Nigeria)

1994 Emmanuel AMUNIKE (Nigeria)

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1995 George WEAH (Liberia)

1996 Nwankwo KANU (Nigeria)

1997 Victor IKPEBA (Nigeria)

1998 Mustapha HADJI (Morocco)

1999 Nwankwo KANU (Nigeria)

2000 Patrick MBOMA (Cameroon)

2001 El-Hadji DIOUF (Senegal)

2002 El Hadji DIOUF (Senegal)

2003 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon)

2004 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon)

2005 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon)

2006 Didier DROGBA (Côte d’Ivoire)

2007 Frédéric KANOUTE (Mali)

2008 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR (Togo)

2009 Didier DROGBA (Côte d’Ivoire)

2010 Samuel ETO’O (Cameroon)

2011 Yaya TOURE (Côte d’Ivoire)

2012 Yaya TOURE (Côte d’Ivoire)

—Taiwo Adelu