Yaya Toure was on Thursday named the African Footballer of the Year. He beat Mikel Obi and Didier Drogba to the award. Yaya has thus won the award for three straight years.
Yaya said on Thursday, “Mikel also deserves to win the award.”
The honour was bestowed on him by the Confederation of African Football in a ceremony held in Lagos for the annual event. The event tagged Glo/CAF award is the highest continental individual honour for African players. Incidentally it was the first time Mikel was nominated into the final stage since he began his professional career in England.
One of Nigeria’s soccer greats Austin Jay Jay Okocha had paid tribute to Mikel via Twitter moments before the winner was announced. Okocha tweeted, “And here it comes…Mikel Obi, this is your time…don’t tell them I tweeted it b4 they announced it.”
But the Thursday night show held at the Eko Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos was not all about Yaya and Mikel. Nigerian football actually stood out on the continent through 2013 as Nigeria not only won the African cup but also the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Stephen Keshi was named African Coach of the Year beating his compatriot Manu Garba who coached the Nigerian Under-17 team. Keshi was definitely the most popular choice for the position after winning the 2013 African Nations Cup with a team hardly anybody expected to go any far.
Keshi continued the run by leading the Eagles to a place in Brazil 2014 World Cup. That feat made it the second Keshi would qualify a country for the World Cup having got the Germany 2006 ticket for Togo. He now holds the record as the only African to have qualified two countries.
Manu told reporters, “I’m not disappointed for not winning the award. I believe everything has to do with destiny. Both the Super Eagles and the Golden Eaglets performed very well last year, so it’s not bad that Keshi won it.”
The Super Eagles were named team of the year. The Nigerian supporters club again won the Fair Play award which they won many times in the past.
Ever club of Egypt Al Ahly was voted the Club of the Year. They beat South African team Orlando Pirates and Tunisian club CS Sfaxien to the award.
Nigerians dominated CAF best XI with Vincent Enyeama as Africa’s best goalkeeper as he topped the list.
Other Nigerians in the team are Mikel and Emmanuel Emenike, while Stephen Keshi was named as the coach of the team. The team also included Ahmed Fathy, Mehdi Benatia, Kevin Constant, Yaya Toure, Mohamed Abou Trika, Jonathan Pitroipa, Asamoah Gyan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.