After being nominated five times in five years, Yaya Toure finally bagged the prestigious 2013 BBC African Footballer of the Year beating off competition from five other nominees.
Toure has been excellent for both club and country helping his club to finally reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League and also helped his country to secure a place in the World Cup in Brazil next year.
The Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder told BBC Sport, “It’s a fantastic achievement because I don’t think there has ever been as many quality African players in top-level international football as there are now: Aubameyang, Pitroipa, Mikel, Moses, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho… we have fantastic players.
“I also think African football is improving and that means a lot to us. And as an African, I’m very happy.”
Yaya Toure forgot to mention our very own Victor Wanyama who played for Celtic and now plies his trade with Southampton who are 8th in the English Premier League, one above defending champions Manchester United. Wanyama is one of the 25 nominees for the 2013 African Player of the Year Awards and the winners will be announced at the Glo-CAF Awards Gala scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria.
AFRICA’S RICH FOOTBALL TALENT
The Kenya Forum agrees with Yaya’s comments about the rise of quality African players. Currently there is without doubt exceptional football talent in Africa, especially young talent. This was seen when Nigeria won a record fourth Under 17 World Cup this year in Abu Dhabi beating Mexico 3-1. Ghana won the Fifa U20 World Cup in 2009 in Egypt. West and North Africa especially, have been on the fore front compared to other regions in Africa with most of the previous winners of both the BBC and Glo-CAF awards coming from the two regions over the years.
With all the talent in Africa, still no African country has ever won the World Cup even when it was staged in Africa for the first time in 2010. Is hope still there? Or is Fifa president Sepp Blatter right when he said Africa may never win the World Cup if we are not given more slots?