Ivorian Midfielder, Yaya Toure, has beaten Nigerian Super Eagles and Chelsea FC midfielder, John Mikel Obi to win for the 3rd consecutive year, the coveted ‘African Footballer of the Year’ Award, at the Glo CAF Awards 2013 held in Lagos.
Mikel Obi was highly favoured by many Nigerians who saw his exploits and team successes with club and country in 2013 as the best credentials to claim the award which has eluded Nigerian footballers since Kanu Nwankwo won it in the year 1999.
While Nigeria confirmed its status as the number 1 footballing country on the African continent during the year 2013 by winning in five categories, the loss of the ultimate crown would cast a gloom on the other successes.
The Nigerian Super Eagles won the award for the ‘National Team of the Year’, while the national Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, also won ‘Youth National Team of the Year’ at the Glo CAF Awards 2013.
Both teams had been expected by many pundits to claim the awards, having won major tournaments at continental and global levels during the year in review.
The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 for the first time in 19 years, while the Golden Eaglets won the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament in United Arab Emirates.
Golden Eaglets’ wonder kid, Kelechi Iheanacho, unsurprisingly won the ‘Most Promising Talent’ Award. Ihenacho was the most decorated at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, winning the tournament’s Adidas Golden Ball Award for the overall best player, alongside the Silver Boot Award for being the second highest goal scorer, as he helped Nigeria to its 4th title to become the most successful team in the history of the age grade competition.
The Nigerian Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, was also named ‘African Coach of the Year’ for his exploits with the African Champions. Keshi became the first Nigerian to win the Nations’ Cup as player and coach, and only the second African coach to do so after Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.
Fair Play Award went to the Nigerian Supporters Club, globally popular for their constant playing of music and dancing while supporting the Nigerian national teams.
Other winners at the awards were Egyptian, Mohammed Aboutreika, who beat Nigeria’s African Nations’ Cup final hero, Sunday Mba, to win the ‘African Player of the Year based in Africa’, while the ‘Club of the Year’ went to Al Ahly FC of Egypt.
The ‘Referee of the Year’ award went to Algerian, Haimoudi Djamel, who officiated the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, and also officiated the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup play-off for third place between Uruguay and Italy.
The African Team of the Year is made up of Vincent Enyeama (NIG), Ahmed Fathy (EGY), Mehdi (MOR), Kevin Constant (GUI), Mikel Obi (NIG), Mohammed Aboutreika (EGY), Yaya Toure (CIV), Jonathan Pitroipa (BFA), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB), Emmanuel Emenike (NIG), Asamoah Gyan (GHA) Coach Stephen Keshi (NIG)
Five Nigerian players from the successful AFCON 2013 Eagles were nominated for the now lost ‘African Player of the Year’ Award; they include Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba and Vincent Enyeama.
Only Mikel Obi made the final 3 man nominees list alongside the 3rd time winner, Ivorian, Yaya Toure and his Ivorian counterpart, Didier Drogba.
Winners were announced in Lagos on January 9, 2014.