Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure was yesterday named African Player of the Year 2011 in a lavish gala ceremony in Accra Ghana. The 28 year old who has had a fantastic start to the EPL this season, beat Mali’s Seydou Keita and Ghana’s Andre Ayew who finished second and third respectively to win the award and become only the second Ivorian since Didier Drogba to win the award.
Speaking after receiving the award, Toure’s brief acceptance speech included thanks to his family and club.
“This award is not important for me alone. It’s for my country and for my club,” he said.
“This is a big step in my career, I’m very thrilled. To be the winner is fantastic.”
Toure has been instrumental in City’s steady climb up the Premier League table in the process helping the Citizens head into the Christmas weekend in top spot for the first time since 1929.
An elated and emotional Toure said that he was glad to win the award and that it was a special day for him.
“In a few months we will look for the Africa Cup of Nations which is very important for me and my country,” he said. “But for now I am very happy and very proud.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s amazing. It’s a first step in my big career.”
The Female player of the Year award went to Nigerian Perpetua Nkwocha who won the award for a 4 time after previous victories in 2004, 2005 and 2010. The female team of the year award went to Cameroon.
Tottenham’s Souleyman Coulibaly won the most promising footballer award, while Esperance’s Oussama Darragi was named the African based Player of the year.
The coach of the year award went to Niger’s Harouna Doula while the Zebras of Botswana were named the African team of the year for their exploits in teh AFCON qualifiers that earned them a debut appearance in next year’s finals.
Photo Credit © Manchester City FC – Official