By Ogova Ondego
Published December 12, 2015
Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure has won the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2015.
The 32-year-old midfielder who plays for England’s Premier League side, Manchester City, becomes only the third player, after Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, to receive the honour twice.
BBC said football fans voted for Toure, who first won in 2013, ahead of Algeria’s Yacine Brahimi (Porto FC, Portugal), Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Ghana’s Andre Ayew (Swansea City, England) and Senegal’s Sadio Mane (Southampton, England).
Describing all five nominees for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2015 as “champions”, Toure told BBC Sport’s Peter Okwoche, “I am very proud to receive this dedication from the fans. I pay tribute to the other nominees. African football is growing and becoming much better; we have fantastic young players coming through now.”
The Ivorian said he is determined “to lead all my younger brothers to be successful in the future. When I was a kid I was always dreaming of being an important player. I have sacrificed a lot.”
Over the years, nomination for the BBC African Footballer of the Year award has been dominated by players from western and northern Africa. Perhaps it is time for BC to have the fans nominate their candidates instead of having them vote on the players nominated by BBC. While no one disputes that Toure is a great player, the credibility of the award is vitiated by having a player winning more than once in a lifetime.
Two of the beaten nominees have won the award before, Algeria’s Brahimi in 2014 and Ghanaian Ayew in 2011. Gabon’s Aubameyang was on the shortlist for the third year running, while Senegalese Mane made it for the first time.
Among the factors that could have led to Toure being nominated for the award seven times and winning it for the second time are that he was captain of his national team for the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea where he “opened the scoring in the semi-final to put his side on course for a 3-1 victory over Democratic Republic of Congo,” BBC says in a media release. “Toure was a key influence as his country end a 23-year wait for their second Nations Cup title, overcoming Ghana in a penalty shootout in the final.”
BBC describes Toure as “a powerful presence in the heart of the midfield and contributed seven goals for Manchester City” in 2015.
Vera Kwakofi, Current Affairs Editor, BBC Africa, said: “Yaya Toure’s leadership for country and club offers an example for many young footballers aspiring to emulate his career. We are pleased that as the BBC we are here to celebrate and share in this moment with his fans around the world.”
Voting for the player of the year opened on November 14, 2015, and closed on November 30, 2015.
Previous winners of the award include:
2014: Yacine Brahimi (Algeria)
2013: Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
2012: Chris Katongo (Zambia)
2011: Andre Ayew (Ghana)
2010: Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)
2009: Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
2008: Mohamed Aboutrika (Egypt)
2007: Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
2006: Michael Essien (Ghana)
2005: Mohamed Barakat (Egypt)
2004: Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)
2003: Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)
2002: El Hadji Diouf (Senegal)
2001: Sammy Kuffour (Ghana)
2000: Patrick Mboma (Cameroon)