Yaya Toure heads for fourth successive African award
Manchester City`s Yaya Toure is on course to win a record fourth straight African Player of the Year Award on Thursday.
London: Manchester City`s Yaya Toure is on course to win a record fourth straight African Player of the Year Award on Thursday.
Cameroon striker Samuel Eto`o has also won the Confederation of African Football award four times. But Toure will be the first to get the trophy four years in a row.
The Ivory Coast skipper is up against Nigeria captain Vincent Enyeama and Gabon star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the biggest individual accolade in African football.
"Nigerians would want Vincent to win the award, but it will be Yaya Toure again," predicted former Nigeria international Jonathan Akpoborie.
"Yaya has been fantastic all through the year winning the English Premier League title with Manchester City.
"He has been consistent. He drives the Manchester City attack. And even when that machinery is stuck, he scores vital goals that have decided games in their favour.
"He has been the stand-out African player of the past year by a mile."
Toure was pivotal as Manchester City won the English Premier League, featured at the World Cup even if Ivory Coast disappointed, and helped his country reach this month`s Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Toure has made himself the heartbeat of the Manchester City team challenging for the English title and the Champions League.
He is also the main inspiration for Ivory Coast following the retirement from international football of Didier Drogba.
Enyeama has been a consistent performer for Lille and Nigeria, but the best goalkeeper in France for year 2014 may have to wait another year to end the drought for Nigeria at the African player of the year award. No Nigerian has won since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.
Gabon skipper Aubameyang has shone for German club Borussia Dortmund while ensuring his country also qualify for this year`s Cup of Nations.
They reached the last eight three years ago when they jointly hosted the tournament with Equatorial Guinea.
The votes of the 54 national coaches in Africa and their technical directors will decide the winner.
Algerians Akram Djahnit and El Hedi Belamieri will jostle Firmin Mubele Ndombe from Democratic Republic of Congo for the Player of the Year based in Africa.
Djahnit and Belamieri helped Entente Setif to win the CAF Champions League, while Ndombe starred for beaten finalists AS Vita.
Nigeria`s Asisat Oshoala will be favourite to be crowned Africa`s woman player for 2014.
The youngster is ahead of Cameroon`s Annette Ndom and compatriot Desire Oparanozie.
She could also scoop the Youth Player Award ahead of fellow Nigerian Sunday Uchechi and Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa, who features for the Barcelona reserves but has now installed himself as his country`s No. 1 shot stopper.
The Rivers Angels striker has done enough to clinch the award as she was the Most Valuable Player at the Under 20 World Cup as well as the African Women`s Championship in Namibia last year.
Ndom won a league and cup double with Rivers Angels this year.