Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)
Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Africa’s newest best

At the 2015 Glo-CAF Awards, new names became stars of the African continent

Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure
Al-Ahram Weekly

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been crowned CAF African Player of the Year for the first time.

The 26-year-old beat Ivorian Yaya Toure and Ghana’s Andre Ayew to the crown, the most prestigious individual award in African football. He polled 143 points, seven more than Toure whilst Ayew finished a distant third with 112 points.

He thus becomes the first from his country, Gabon, to win the prize, awarded at the 2015 Glo-CAF Awards Gala held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday 7 January. The feat by Aubameyang ended the four-year reign of Toure, which lasted from 2011 to 2014.

“I thank the people of Gabon; this award is for them,” Aubameyang told the press. “I want to thank my teammates in the national team and also at Dortmund. It is their work that helps me to score goals. I worked hard and I merit the award. For parents of the youth of Africa, please give your kids a chance to realise their dreams,” Aubameyang said in his acceptance speech.

“To be honest,” said Toure, second best African Player, “I’m disappointed I lost out. As a champion, whenever you lose, you are always disappointed. Sometimes it is hard to take some things. And today was a difficult one. In every situation you have to be a man and take what comes.” For the African Player of the Year based in Africa, Tanzanian Mbwana Aly Samatta was decorated, becoming the first from East Africa to win the coveted prize, reserved for footballers plying their trade on the continent. Samatta garnered 127 points, ahead of his TP Mazembe teammate and DR Congo goalkeeper Robert Muteba Kidiaba, who amassed 88 points. Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah trailed in third place with 63 points.

Cameroonian Gaelle Enganamouit was adjudged Women’s Player of the Year, becoming the first from her country to pick up the prize. It was double delight for hosts Nigeria with two prizes, Victor Osimhen – Youth Player of the Year and Etebo Peter Oghenekaro – Most Promising Talent of the Year.

For guiding Cote d’Ivoire to continental glory, former coach Herve Renard was named Coach of the Year and ‘Les Elephants’ as National Team of the Year. Cameroon scooped the Women’s National Team of the Year prize and DR Congo giants, TP Mazembe, Club of the Year, while Gambian Papa Bakary Gassama went home with the Referee of the Year award.

Former Ghana coach Charles Kumi Gyamfi and Cameroonian Samuel Mbappe Leppe were honoured posthumously in the African Legend category. Edwin Gyamfi received the honour on behalf of his dad. Abdiqani Said Arab won the Leader of the Year award and Senegal-based Supporters’ Group Allez Casa went home with the Fair Play Award. Frenchman Renard was named Coach of the Year for the second time. The 47-year-old who guided Cote d’Ivoire to the title at the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea was adjudged the best in his category among shortlists such as Baye Ba (Mali U-17), Patrice Carteron (TP Mazembe), Faouzi Benzarti (Etoile du Sahel) and Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria U-17).

Renard, who received the prize for the first time after guiding Zambia to a similar feat in 2012, was presented with his award by CAF Executive Committee member Adoum Djibrine. Cameroon headlined their women’s category that included Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, following an impressive outing on their maiden appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada last June.

In the men’s team of the year category, African champions Cote d’Ivoire beat Ghana, Mali U-17, Nigeria U-17 and Nigeria U-23 to the prize.

As for Enganamouit, the women’s player of the year: “It is a great day and I’m very happy with the award. I’m happy to represent all the women football in Africa. I say a big ‘thank you’ to all who have supported me. Together, we have to work hard to raise the level of women’s football in Africa.”

Gassama was crowned Referee of the Year for the second time on the trot. The 36-year-old soared to the top prize at the expense of Egyptian Gihead Grisha, Janny Sikazwe of Zambia and Gabonese Eric Arnaud Otogo Castane. Algerian Haimoudi Djamel also won the prize twice in a row, 2012 and 2013.

In 2015, Gassama discharged his duties professionally in some high profile games including the final of the Orange AFCON 2015 in Equatorial Guinea and the CAF Champions League final.

Most Promising Talent Oghenekaro, the 20-year-old Nigerian midfielder, cruised to the prize, easing past countryman Azubuike Okechukwu, Malian goalkeeper Djigui Diarra, Mahmoud Abdel-Monem Abdel-Hamid ‘Kahraba’ of Egypt and Algerian Zinedine Ferhat.

Etebo, who plays for Nigerian top flight outfit Warri Wolves, was one of the revelations at the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal in December, finishing as top scorer with five goals including a brace in the 2-1 over Algeria in the final.

He was also pivotal to Warri Wolves finishing second in the Nigeria Premier League, and qualifying for the 2016 CAF Champions League.

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