Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1280, (28 January - 3 February 2016)
Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Issue 1280, (28 January - 3 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Bad blood

Toure blasts CAF after Aubameyang is named Africa’s Player of the Year, reports Marawan Zayed

Al-Ahram Weekly

After four years of winning the African Player of the Year award, Yaya Toure lost the title this year to Africa’s new mega star who has taken the Bundesliga by storm, Gabon’s captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Toure was expected to be named Africa’s Player of the Year for the fifth year in a row after guiding Ivory Coast to the Nations cup trophy for the first time in more than 20 years. As a precursor he was named the BBC’s African Player of the year a few weeks earlier. However, in a vote of coaches and technical directors of CAF nations, Aubameyang collected 143 points, with Manchester City midfielder Toure on 136 and Ghana and Swansea star Andre Ayew 112.

Aubameyang thus became the first ever player from Gabon to clinch the award and could not hide his delight at winning it. “When you’re next to players like Yaya Toure and Andre Ayew, you are proud to win this trophy in front of them because they are great players that I admire a lot,” Aubameyang, known for his speed, having clocked 30 metres in 3.7 seconds, said. The goal scoring machine, who can play a striker or a winger, vowed to give his all in 2016 to retain his title and to embark on a similar run to that of Toure. “I will have to work. I will have to work a lot,” he said. “But I have the qualities to be there again next year. But it is hard work and sacrifice too.”

On the other hand, Toure was not all that impressed with the decision and blasted African football and officials, calling the African football’s governing body “indecent” and “pathetic” after failing to win the award for a fifth successive occasion. Toure’s rant comes after he captained his nation to their first African Cup of Nations in 23 years which to his mind meant that the CAF does not care about the biggest African prize.

 “I’m very, very disappointed,” Toure said. “It’s sad to see Africa react this way, that they don’t think African achievements are important. I think this is what brings shame to Africa, because to act in that way is indecent. But what can we do about it? Us Africans, we don’t show that Africa is important in our eyes. We favour more what’s abroad than our own continent. That is pathetic. Even FIFA, with all its history of corruption, wouldn’t do this.

“Yaya will take care of Yaya and let Africa take care of itself. As I’ve been told many times, you can’t take care of Africa too much because Africa will be the first to let you down.”

Toure made it clear that his rant has nothing to do with Aubameyang himself as he believes that Dortmund’s superstar is one of the best strikers in the world and will only get better in the coming years. However, he stressed that he had completely lost respect for the CAF and its officials for their lack of appreciation to their own stars and own tournaments.

Aubameyang has admitted he was hurt by Toure’s criticism after he was voted the African Player of the Year. “The Golden Ball [of Africa] is played in one season and my calendar year was not bad. It hurt me and that’s a shame.”

“I spoke with Ayew. I did not understand [his attitude]. It doesn’t matter,” Aubameyang said.

Aubameyang, 26, has scored 27 goals in 27 games this season.

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