Toure earns 3rd African player of the year award
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was named African player of the year for a third straight time on Thursday.
He beat out Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel of Nigeria in the vote by Africa’s national team coaches. Toure’s fellow Ivorian Didier Drogba, the Galatasaray striker and two-time recipient, was third.
“To be the winner today is unbelievable,” the 30-year-old Toure said. “I am very happy and very, very proud.”
Toure was instrumental in helping Ivory Coast qualify for its third straight World Cup finals in Brazil, scoring four goals in the six qualifiers he played.
He is also a driving force at the heart of Manchester City’s midfield and only Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o with four has won more African player of the year awards than Toure.
In October, Toure joined a U.N. campaign against poaching, warning the slaughter of elephants threatens their very existence in Africa.
Nigeria swept all of the other major honors at a gala in Lagos, the country’s seaside commercial capital.
Stephen Keshi was named coach of the year after reviving the fortunes of the national team and leading the Super Eagles to their first African Cup win in 20 years.
Keshi was captain of the Nigerian team that last won the African Cup of Nations in 1994.
The Super Eagles won the team of the year award, and the under-17 Golden Eaglets took away the trophy for the youth team.
Even Nigerian supporters were honored, winning the award for fair play.
Egypt’s Mohamed Aboutrika won an unprecedented fourth award for the best player based in Africa after helping Al Ahly to a record-extending eighth African Champions League title before retiring at the end of last year. Aboutrika scored in both legs of the final against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.
Al Ahly won Africa’s club of the year for the fifth time.