Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure was named the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player of the Year for the third time in a row on Thursday.
Toure saw off Super Eagles playmaker John Mikel Obi and Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba to clinch the title for a third successive time starting from 2011.
The 30-year-old Manchester City player joins the league of notable Africans- Abedi Pele of Ghana(1991-93) and Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’O Fils (2003-05)- to have won three successive CAF awards.
The winner was decided by votes from the Head Coaches or Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF.
Despite not winning a major trophy in 2013, as the Elephants were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) by Nigeria in the quarter-finals and City ended a trophyless campaign in the English Premier League, Toure’s class was evident in terms of goals scored and assists made after registering himself as the key pivot of his club and country.
He is the only African included on the initial 23-man shortlist for the Fifa Ballon d’Or.
Mikel, who stared Nigeria to a third successive Afcon title in South Africa, offered Toure a stern competition. The Nigerian, alongside goalkeeper Vincent Enyema were however listed in the Africa Finest 11 with Coach Stephen Keshi, who won the Best African Coach Prize, named the side’s coach.
The award ceremony took place in Lagos in the presence of dignitaries such as; President Issa Hayatou, Executive Governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola Raji Fashola, Nigeria’s Minister of Minister of Youth and Sport, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullah, CAF Executive Committee members amongst others.
Galatasaray frontman, Didier Drogba, 35, was runner-up in 2012 but wore the crown in 2006 and 2009.
Thursday’s Gala leaves Nigeria searching for a first recipient of the award since former Arsenal striker, Kanu Nwankwo, in 1999.
And the Winner is…
Player of the Year
Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire and Manchester City)
Player of the Year (Based in Africa)
Mohamed Aboutrika (Egypt and Al-Ahly)
Most Promising Talent
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
National Team of the Year
Youth National Team of the Year
Nigeria U-17 team
Club of the Year
Coach of the Year
Stephen Keshi (Nigeria)
Referee of the Year
Haimoudi Djamel (Algeria)
Fair Play award
Goodluck Jonathan (President of Nigeria)
Africa Finest XI
Goalkeeper: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathy (Egypt), Mehdi Benatia (Morocco), Kevin Constant (Guinea)
Midfielders: Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso), John Obi Mikel (Nigeria), Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire), Mohamed Aboutreika (Egypt)
Forwards: Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)