Glo-CAF Awards: Aubameyang dethrones Toure

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Gabonese international and Borussia Dortmund striker, Pierre-Emerick Emiliano François Aubameyang, has upstaged Ivorian international, Yaya Toure as the African Footballer of the Year.

Aubameyang effectively ended the four-year reign of Toure on Thursday night when he was named African Player of the Year before a packed audience at the 2015 Glo-CAF Awards gala held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Andrew Ayew of Ghana and Swansea City FC striker Placed third.

The high profile event sponsored and organized by next generation network, Globacom, was hosted by Supersports of South Africa’s Robert Marawa and Ghanaian Actress and Producer, Juliet Ibrahim.

The ceremony was graced by five Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, top diplomats, captains of industry, heads of government agencies and the crème of African football including Acting President of FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Alhaji Issa Hayatou.

If Toure had won the prestigious award this year, he would have set a new record for retaining the title for five consecutive years. He had in 2014 equaled the record of four Glo-CAF Footballer of the Year Award titles held by Cameroonian striker, Samuel Eto’o Fils.

Aubameyang has scored a total of 28 goals in 21 appearances for club and country, including 18 goals for Borussia Dortmund in the current season, 4 goals in Europa and 4 goals in 2 matches for Gabon. He is known for his speed, having clocked 30 meters in 3.7 seconds, and his capability of playing either as a striker or a winger.

He became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in each of his team’s opening six matches of a season. He later extended this record to eight matches, scoring in the team’s next two fixtures against Darmstadt 98 and Bayern Munich.

Aubameyang captained Gabon at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, scoring the team’s opening goal of the tournament in their 2–0 win over Burkina Faso on 17 January 2015. He also scored a brace against Mali on 25 March 2015. He is Gabon’s highest goal scorer.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari won the CAF Platinum Award. The trophy and certificate were presented to his representative, the Minister for Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, by Globacom’s Executive Director, Legal Services, Mrs. Gladys Talabi, and the CAF President, Alhaji Issa Hayatou. The Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung commended CAF and Globacom for bringing the Glo CAF Awards back to Abuja, a decade after the city hosted the inaugural edition of the awards in 2005.

Winners in other categories include Mbwana Aly Samatta who won the Africa Player of the Year based in Africa, Allez Casa of Senegal who won the Fair Play Award, while the National team of the year went to Cote d’Ivoire. Coach Herve Renard was adjudged the Coach of the Year, while T.P Mazembe won the Club of the year. Papa Bakary Gasam was pronounced Referee of the Year. Other award categories were the Most Promising Talent of the Year which went to Oghenekaro Etebo of Nigeria, while the Legend Awards were picked by Charles Kumi Gyamfi of Ghana and Samuel Mbapppe Leppe of Cameroon.

Cameroon carted home the Women National team of the Year, while Abdigani Said Arab was pronounced Football Leader of the Year. The Youth Player of the Year Award went to Victor Osimhen of Nigeria, while Gaelle Enganamouit of Cameroon emerged as the Women player of the Year.

Globacom’s Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr, (GCON), represented by the company’s Executive Director, Legal Services, Mrs. Gladys Talabi, in his message to the continent at the event, expressed his delight with the achievements the continent recorded in the game in the last two years: “We are delighted with the development of the game on the continent; the Nigeria U-17 National team successfully defended the U-17 World Cup, while the performances of African players in other major competitions have been very encouraging. We will continue to support the development of football on the continent.”

In his own remarks, CAF President, Dr. Issa Hayatou, said that since 2005 when the partnership with Globacom on the Awards began, Glo-CAF Awards had become a world-class event. He noted that this relationship “perfectly portrays a successful union between a first-class sports organization and a global brand untied in a common determination: to elevate African football and celebrate Africa.”

The International Conference Centre venue of the gala was electrified by performances by Awilo Logomba from Congo, Salif Keita from Mali, Sunny Ade and D’banj from Nigeria, Shattawale from Ghana, and Black Mambazo from South Africa. Also there were Ahmed Soultan from Morocco and Nigeria’s Korede Bello, Dija, Bez, Ego, Flavour and Omawumi among others.

ANDREW EKEJIUBA
Sport Editor @Daily Times Nigeria Newspaper
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