By BBC World Service International Publicity
Published December 16, 2011
Ghana and Olympique de Marseille player Andre “Dede” Ayew has been voted by football fans as BBC African Footballer of the Year 2011. The results were announced on BBC World Service’s global sports programme, Sport Today, which aired live from Marseille on December 16, 2011.
The three-week vote for BBC African Footballer of the Year 2011 ran from November 18, 2011 when fans were invited to select their African football star from a shortlist put together by football experts around Africa. The shortlist also included Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon and Anzhi Makhachkala), Gervinho (Ivory Coast and Arsenal), Seydou Keita (Mali and Barcelona) and Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast and Manchester City).
As he received the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2011 award, Ayew told Sport Today: “I’m honoured and surprised to receive this prestigious award, especially considering the great players who have won it in the past. I thank all the people who voted for me, in Ghana, in Africa and in the world. I’m going to work hard to show them they made a good choice.”
Acting Editor, BBC Africa Sport, Andres Ilves, says, “The BBC has larger audiences in Africa than anywhere else in the world, and we are proud of our commitment to Africa. This annual award recognising the African footballer of the year is a significant event for the BBC, and marks our ongoing commitment both to Africa and to sport. Judging by the response we are getting – with 50% more people taking part in the voting compared with last year – the award’s popularity is growing.”
Ayew also will be honoured as BBC African Footballer of the Year 2011 in a short ceremony ahead of Olympique de Marseille’s home game against Lorient tomorrow, Saturday 17 December. Ayew’s father, Ghanaian football legend, Abedi “Pele”, is expected to attend the event.
Abedi “Pele” was the first winner of the BBC African Sports Star of the Year award when it was launched in 1992. The award was later transformed into the current BBC African Footballer of the Year award. The Ayew family, famous for contributing six top players to the Ghana national team, now has two of its members winning the BBC’s sports accolade.
Previous winners of the BBC African Footballer of the Year award include Asamoah Gyan (Ghana, 2010), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, 2009), Mohamed Aboutrika (Egypt, 2008), Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo, 2007), Michael Essien (Ghana, 2006), Mohamed Barakat (Egypt, 2005), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria, 2004 and 2003), El Hadji Diouf (Senegal, 2002), Samuel Kuffour (Ghana, 2001), Patrick Mboma (Cameroon, 2000). Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu and Liberian George Weah, are other past winners of the award.