Ivorian international and Manchester City of England player, Yaya Toure was adjudged the African Footballer of the Year for the third consecutive year by the Confederation of African Football at a glamorous coronation ceremony held in Lagos on Thursday.
His name was announced before a packed audience at the 2013 Glo-CAF Awards ceremony held at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, beating Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi and Cote D’voire’s Didier Drogba to the coveted award.
There was an almost pin drop silence when Nigeria’s ex –International, Sunday Oliseh and co –host, South Africa’s Carol Tshabalala announced Toure as the winner before the CAF President, Alhaji Issa Hayatou, Globacom’s Group Executive Director, Miss Abimbola Adenuga and the representative of Governor Babatunde Fashola presented the trophy and certificate to Toure.
Prior to now, Yaya Toure won the last two editions of the African Player of the Year Award. He scored two goals including a spectacular free-kick against Tunisia at the group stage of the last African Cup of Nations tournament which Nigeria won. He was also the pillar of the Ivorian team in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, netting four goals in the process. At Manchester City, he is a cult figure and has been the driving force for the club. For the current 2013-14 season, the midfielder has found the back of the net five times in 11 games.
Toure was crowned at a ceremony attended by the crème de la crème of African football, including officials, current and former players and administrators.
Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan won the CAF Platinum Award and the trophy and certificate were presented to his representative, the Minister for Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi by Globacom’s Executive Director, Legal Services, Mrs Gladys Talabi and the CAF President, Alhaji Hayatou. The Sports Minister described President Jonathan as Nigeria’s most successful president in football.
The convention centre was electrified by the performances from Lagbaja, D’banj, Lira from South Africa, Flavor, P Square, Sherifa from Ghana, Zainab from Benin Republic and other African and international artistes.
In his message to the continent at the event, Globacom’s Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr, (GCON), represented by the company’s Head of Post Paid Sales, expressed his delight with the giant strides African football is making across the world. “The quality of football played in the elite leagues around the continent from South Africa to Morroco, Nigeria and beyond, has improved significantly,” he said.
He stated that the quality, flair and depth of the five countries that emerged from the continent in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers after a very keen competition, has imbued Africa with the confidence that the continent will be well represented in Brazil later this year.
The Africa-based Player of the Year went to Mohamed Aboutrika of Egypt, who won the Award for the second time. The Nigerian national team supporters were presented with the Fair Play Award, while the National team of the year went to the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Coach Stephen Keshi of Nigeria was adjudged the Coach of the Year while Al Ahly of Egypt won the Club of the year. Haimoudi Djameel was pronounced Referee of the Year. Other award categories were the Most Promising Talent of the Year which went to Kelechi Iheanacho of Nigeria while the Legend Awards were picked by Bruno Metsu and Mehdi Faria.