Manchester city midfielder Yaya Toure
Africa’s best footballer for the next twelve months is expected to emerge at the annual CAF Awards slated to hold at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra, Ghana Thursday night.
Last year’s winner, Yaya Toure made the last three list again even as his compatriot, Didier Drogba is favourite to reclaim the title he lost to Camerounian, Samuel Eto Fils in 2010. Interestingly, Eto’s kinsman, Alexander Song is the third player in the three-man list going into the award. The Barcelona FC defensive midfielder is also hoping to profit from whatever splitting of vote could do to the Ivorian duo.
From 1992 to 2011, from Ghana’s Abedi Pele to Ivorian Toure, 14 players have laid claim to the most prestigious individual honour in African football.
Eto’o has been crowned an unprecedented four times - 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010, whilst Senegalese forward, El Hadji Diouf won the award twice in succession; 2001 and 2002.
However, the first man to have been named African Footballer of the Year twice remains former Nigerian captain, Nwankwo Kanu, in 1996 and 1999 with Drogba duplicating the feat in 2006 and 2009.
However, going into the night, Drogba who dumped the limelight of the English Premiership for the megabucks of the Chinese League with Shanghai Shenhua, is been tipped to lead African footballers again following his contributions to Chelsea winning the UEFA League for the first time.
The Ivorian striker had an eventful 2011-2012 season with both club and country. He scored the equaliser and winning penalty to give Chelsea the European Champions League title and missed a penalty in 2012 AFCON final during regulation time. His goals took Cote d’Ivoire into 2012 AFCON finals where they finished up second to Zambia.
He scored the winning goal in FA cup final for Chelsea in what became his last season with the English club.
He will surely be challenged by reigning king, Yaya Toure.
The Ivorian midfielder had another stellar season in 2011-2012. His box to box runs have become trade-mark for club and country and made Yaya an important player. He scores 9 goals in 43 games for Manchester City and helped the club win the English Premiership title in 44 years. He was voted in the PFA Premier League team of the year 2011- 2012 season.
With Yaya was part of the team that blitzed its way to the 2012 AFCON finals before losing the final on penalties to Zambia. He scored in a 3-0 win over co-hosts Equatorial Guinea in the quarter finals.
Song on the other hand, has an outside chance of snatching the title from the Ivorians.