*As Nigeria dominates African awards
Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder, Yaya Toure, last night retained his Confederation of African Football (CAF) Footballer of the Year in Lagos.
It was the dampener to Nigeria’s night of success after Stephen Keshi had led the country to scoop several awards at the event which held at the Eko Hotel Covention Centre.
Keshi was voted Africa’s best coach, while the Super Eagles were the best national team after they won a third Africa Cup of Nations in February last year and also qualified for a fifth World Cup in Brazil.
The country’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets were picked as the National Youth Team while Kelechi Iheanacho who was voted the MVP of the 2013 U-17 FIFA World Cup in the UAE last year, received the Most Promising Talent Award.
The biggest of the awards which went to Toure was his third straight African title. He had earlier won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award.
The former Barcelona player beat fellow countryman, Didier Drogba of Galatasaray, and favoured Nigerian and Chelsea stalwart, John Mikel Obi to the award.
The 30 years old Toure, now joins the league of ‘Legends of the Award’ like Abedi Pele Ayew of Ghana and Samuel Eto’o with a hat-trick of wins.
Toure may not have won a major trophy for both club and country last year but his class act shone through at both domestic level for the Elephants and his English Premiership club, Manchester City.
His recent form also led to him being the only African to be included on the 23-man shortlist for FIFA’s World Player of the Year.
His closest rival for the CAF award was Mikel, 26, who helped Nigeria win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa and also featured in Chelsea’s Europa League win.
Former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu was the last Nigerian star to win the prestigious award in 1999.
Ex-Chelsea favourite Drogba, 35, was runner-up in 2012 but won the CAF award in 2006 and 2009.
Egyptian legend Mohamed Aboutrika beat compatriot Ahmed Fathy and Nigeria’s AFCON 2013 hero, Sunday Mba, to win the best player based in Africa award.
It was a fitting send-off gift for the 35-year-old Al Ahly star, who has announced his retirement from the game.
Ahly were also rewarded as the Club of the Year ahead of CS Sfaxien of Tunisia and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates after they won an eighth CAF Champions League trophy.
The full list of winners of the 2013 CAF Awards:
African Footballer of the Year
Best African-based Player
Coach of the Year
Most promising Talent
National Team of the Year
National Youth Team of the Year
Club of the Year
Al Ahly of Egypt
Referee of the Year
Legends of the Year
Bruno Metsu, Jose Faria
Africa XI – Vincent Enyeama – Ahmed Fathi, Fari, Kevin Constant – Mikel Obi, Yaya Toure, Jonathan Pitroipa, Mohamed Aboutrika – Emmanuel Emenike, Asamoah Gyan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Coach: Stephen Keshi .