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Yaya Toure is African Footballer of the Year

Adrian Kriesch / im
January 9, 2015

For the fourth consecutive year, Yaya Toure has been named the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) Player of the Year. The 31-year- old Ivorian player was presented with the award at a ceremony in Lagos.

Yaya Toure at the award ceremony in Lago
Image: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Yaya Toure beat Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Gabon, who plays for German Bundesliga club Dortmund, and Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama into second and third place respectively.

The polls were conducted by national team coaches and sports directors of the 54 associations that make up CAF.

After Yaya Toure was announced the winner for 2014, the crowd broke out in a frenzy of cheers and ululations, but Toure himself seemed not too excited as made his way to the stage to pick up the award.

Consistent winner

The fatigue is understandable. Not because of the late hour of the award ceremony and the rather soporiphic speeches, but because Toure in recent years has constantly played football at the highest level with some of Europe's top clubs.

In the last five years the midfielder has won four national championships. Twice with Barcelona in Spain and twice with English side Manchester City, his current team.

As one of the top players for the Ivorian national team (The Elephants), a lot is expected of Yaya Toure from home fans.

"I always want to win and achieve important things. But I knew it was going to be difficult, because new young players are coming up," Toure said.

Toure 's fourth title puts him on an equal footing with previous record holder, superstar Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon. Eto'o received the award from 2003 to 2005 and again in 2010.

'Your own country takes priority'

Yaya Toure heads the ball during a Champions League match between Manchester City and AS Roma in September 2014
Yaya Toure heads the ball away from AS Roma's Raja Nainggolan in a Champions League clash in September 2014Image: Reuters

For the star of the evening and his teammates in the national team, the next big tournament is the Africa Cup of Nations that will be held from 17 January - 8 February 2015 in Equatorial Guinea.

That means Toure's club team Manchester City will have to play some games without him.

"I think it is always a difficult decision. You have to play for your country and have to leave your club in crucial months. The Premier League is always tough. But City has fantastic players who can manage without me," Toure said.

"It is quite difficult to choose, but the first thing will always be my country. So I hope I can go there, perform well and make my country proud of me," he said.

The Ivorian national team is regularly regarded as one of the favorites for the title.

Nigeria disappointed

Nigerians present at the ceremony had been hoping that their own Vincent Enyeama, who plays for Lille in France, would be voted African Player of the Year but he only come third. He would have been the first goalkeeper to win the award.

Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama dives tomake a save
Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama is undoubtedly Africa's number one goalkeeperImage: Reuters

"Nigerians will always be sentimental, I am sure you would be, too, in your country. Vincent Enyeama was nominated and he didn't win, so people were disappointed a little bit, of course," Tayo Ojewunmi, a sports reporter with Raypower FM station in Nigeria, told DW.

Gary Smith, a sports reporter with Ghana's City FM, also praised Enyeama.

"It is difficult to overlook Vincent Enyeama, because he had a fantastic year. And since he stood out as a goalkeeper, you would have thought he would have been given the award," Smith said.

Although the 32-year-old Nigerian does not play for a top European club, he enjoys a high international reputation as one of the few recognizable goalkeepers from Africa. In 2013 he stood in goal for Nigeria's Super Eagles when they won the Africa Cup of Nations.

The award for Africa's best female football player of the year went to Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala who plays for domestic club Rivers Angels.

Ndombe Mubele from DR congo took the prize for best African footballer who plays in Africa.

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