Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure named BBC’s African Soccer Player of the Year

By Admin Wednesday December 18 2013 in Sports
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Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is this year’s British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Soccer Player of the Year.

 

The 30-year-old beat out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Victor Moses, John Mikel Obi and Jonathan Pitroipa for the award.

 

“It’s a fantastic achievement because I don’t think there has ever been as many quality African players in top level international soccer as there are now,” said Toure who was nominated for five straight years. “I also think African soccer is improving and that means a lot to us. And as an African, I am very happy.”

 

Soccer experts from across Africa shortlisted the players for this year’s award while a record number of fans voted online for their favourite.

 

Toure thanked the fans for their votes.

 

“It’s something special because it’s not the vote of the manager or the club or the captain of the national team,” he said. “It’s just the fans.”

 

And, concerned about the large number of foreign soccer coaches in Africa, Confederation of African Football (CAF) technical instructor Ben Koufie says the time has come for the continent to produce more local coaches at the top level.

 

Of the 10 nations that qualified for the just concluded final round World Cup play-offs, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia were the only countries with African coaches.

 

“This must change,” said Koufie. “Africa must own its own space if we are going to get the respect of the world.”

 

Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi has been outspoken about the influx of foreign coaches in Africa.

 

“The White guys are coming to Africa just for the money,” he said last January. “They are not doing anything we cannot do. I am not racist, but that’s just the way it is.”

 

Keshi coached Nigeria to the Africa Cup of Nations title in February, becoming the first Black African coach to win the trophy in 21 years and just the second person to clinch the crown both as player and coach.

 

To improve the standard of coaching in Africa, the continent’s governing body for the sport will soon introduce a law that forbids any national coach without an “A” license from coaching national teams in Africa.

 

“I know this might sound funny as most coaches might say why I should have a certificate when I am already a good coach,” said Koufie. “However, the truth is you can be a good driver but it’s an offence to drive without a valid driver’s license.”

 

Meanwhile, Libya has been confirmed as hosts for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

 

The country has been gripped by political and social turmoil since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

 

Despite the instability, CAF general secretary Hicham El Amrani is confident that Libya will host a successful event.

 

“The organizers in Libya are doing the work, they have set up their local organizing committee, they have proposed the venues, they have proposed a certain number of key elements that allow us to get started within the implementation of the tournament and its organization,” he said. “I cannot comment on the political or social situation. We are concerned only with the sporting organization. CAF is responsible enough to ensure any host of any tournament will guarantee security for players, officials, visiting fans and any stakeholders involved in the tournament.”

 

The next Africa Cup of Nations competition will take place in Morocco in 2015.

 

RON FANFAIR

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