Midfielder Yaya Toure has been named African Soccer Player of the Year for the second time.
The Ivory Coast and Manchester United player beat out fellow Ivorian and former Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba, who won the award in 2006 and 2009 and Alex Song of the Cameroon. Drogba and Song currently play with the Shanghai Shenhua in China and Barcelona in Spain, respectively.
Toure, who won the award last year, is a member of the Ivory Coast team preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations competition in South Africa, starting next month.
Ex-Barcelona and Cameroonian forward, Samuel Eto’o, holds the record for the most titles, having won four times.
Reigning Africa Nations Cup champions Zambia and their coach, Herve Renard, won the team and Coach of the Year Awards, respectively.
And, the Ivory Coast remains Africa’s top ranked team, occupying 14th spot in the world. In the latest International Soccer Federation’s (FIFA) global rankings, Algeria is the continent’s second-best team followed by Mali, Ghana, Zambia, Egypt, Gabon, Tunisia, the Central Africa Republic and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, thousands of fans, players, politicians and sports administrators attended the funeral of Zimbabwe legend, Adam Ndlovu, in Bulawayo last Saturday.
The 42-year-old, who played in Switzerland for seven seasons and scored 34 goals for his country, died in a car accident two weeks ago which left his younger brother Peter in critical condition. He was temporarily released from hospital to attend the funeral.
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, said the deceased was a legend who united the country through soccer while former Zimbabwe defender, Harlington Shereni, said Ndlovu was like a brother to him.
“It’s a big loss for me and it pains me to be here,” said Shereni who played alongside Ndlovu at Delemont in Switzerland. “He introduced me to European soccer, he was the star of the team at Delemont and he was always there to help me.”
Since his death, there have been calls for Ndlovu to be declared a national hero. The Zimbabwe government however has said that hero status is reserved for individuals with a liberation war history.
The country’s Sports Minister, David Coltart, has said that more should be done to mark the achievements of distinguished sports stars.
“I believe that we do not adequately honour our sporting and cultural heroes in Zimbabwe,” said Coltart. “They often do more than politicians to boost our spirits and image of the country.”
By RON FANFAIR