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Sport

Touré named Africa's best for second year in a row

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-21

Ivorian Yaya Touré of Manchester City won Africa's top football honour on Thursday, beating out his countryman Didier Drogba and Alexandre Song of Cameroon for the CAF player of the year award.

Manchester City's Yaya Touré won the African Footballer of the Year award for a second successive year on Thursday, holding off a strong challenge from compatriot and Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba.

The 29-year-old midfielder topped the annual poll of African national team coaches and technical directors to add to the award he won in 2011.

Touré played a pivotal role for both club and country, helping Ivory Coast to the African Nations Cup final in February and then playing a big part in taking Manchester City to the Premier League title in a dramatic season finale.

"Touré's immense contribution in helping Manchester City win their first domestic championship in 44 years saw him pick up Africa's most prestigious individual award," said the citation from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), who did not release the tally of votes.

He was also a goal scorer in August's FA Community Shield against Chelsea, which City won 3-2, and helped the Ivorians ease past a strong Senegal in autumn qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Voters picked him ahead of hot favourite Drogba, whose dramatic celebrations after converting the decisive penalty for Chelsea against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final were among the lasting images of the footballing year.

Victory in the Champions League helped Drogba complete a full sweep of trophies with Chelsea and  ease the pain of his penalty miss in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) just three months earlier.

The Ivorian captain had led his side on a seemingly unstoppable march to the final in the Gabonese capital of Libreville, where they were runaway favourites. But he ballooned a second-half penalty over the crossbar, denying Ivory Coast a prize that has consistently eluded them.

Drogba, who signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in June, went on to score in the ensuing penalty shoot-out, but it was underdogs Zambia who emerged as surprise African champions.

Third in the voting was Cameroon midfielder Alex Song, whose elevation to the trio of finalists was unexpected after a year of turmoil for the national side and little success at club level with Arsenal before his move to Barcelona.

Chipolopolo and French coach awarded

CAN-winners Zambia, known as Chipolopolo, or Copper Bullets, picked up the award for national side of the year. The southern African nation’s key achievement at the CAN final moved judges to honour it as the continent's top team.

The team beat out fellow nominees Ivory Coast and up-and-coming Cape Verde.

Zambia manager Hervé Renard, a Frenchman credited with masterminding the Chipolopolo's success, was named coach of the year at the ceremony.

The award for the top women's team went to Equatorial Guinea, who hosted and won the eighth African women's championship.

Equatorial Guinea's Genoveva Anoman was honoured as the continent's top female footballer, after scoring six goals in the tournament.

It was a night full of awards for Egypt, with Cairo-based Al-Ahly named as club of the year after securing its seventh CAF Champions League crown.

The club's star Mohamed Aboutrika took home the award for the best player based in Africa.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah, 23, was named the most promising emerging talent after scoring three goals for his country's under-23 side at the London Olympics.

Mahmoud El-Gohary provided the fourth Egyptian triumph of the night, winning a Legend award for a range of both club and national titles won throughout his lengthy career.

Rigobert Song, the defender from Cameroon, was also named an African football Legend, with the judges noting his two African championships.

The awards were announced at the annual CAF gala in Accra, Ghana, a rambling affair filled with foibles including the incorrect announcing of a winner of one of the other minor awards.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-12-21

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