Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has made history by becoming the first player to be crowned the Confederation of African Soccer (CAF) Player of the Year for a fourth straight time.
The 31-year-old played a key role in helping his English club, Manchester City, win the Premier League and League Cup and his country qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations that starts this weekend in Equatorial Guinea.
Toure scored 20 goals in Manchester City’s title-winning campaign and also netted the equalizer in the 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley Stadium last March. He has been with the English club since 2010 and a regular member of his country’s national team for the last decade. During that time, he has scored 16 goals in 83 appearances.
Samuel Eto’o, who retired from international soccer last August after making 118 appearances for Cameroon, is the only other African player to win the award four times. However, his achievement was not in successive years.
Nigerian striker Asisat Oshoala beat compatriot Desire Oparanozie and Cameroonian goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom for the Women’s Player of the Year Award.
“This award means a lot to me and to my career,” said Oshoala. “It’s more like an assignment for me to be a better player next year and always.”
She captured the Best Player and Top Goal-scorer Awards at the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-20 World Cup in Canada last year. She was also the Most Valuable Player and second leading goal scorer at the 2014 African Women competition.
The Nigerian national team was voted Africa’s Top Women’s side, while retired Algerian midfielder Kheireddine Madoui, who coaches Africa’s top club team – Entente Setif of Algeria – clinched the Coach of the Year honour.
Meanwhile, FIFA has rejected plans to remove Isha Johansen as president of the Sierra Leone Soccer Association.
A nine-member committee – headed by Unisa Alim Sesay – was recently set up by some Premier League club representatives who are unhappy with Johansen’s administration. Sesay wrote to FIFA, seeking its support and warning the sport’s governing body that his committee was determined to meet its goals even if FIFA was unwilling to support them.
FIFA has refused to recognize the interim committee and has thrown its support behind Johansen, who was installed in August 2013 as the first female president of an African soccer federation.
Sesay said FIFA’s position will not deter the interim committee.
“We, the members, own the Sierra Leone Soccer Association and our decision will stand,” he said. “There is an interim body in place.”