Yaya Toure and Mikel Obi were both tipped as the strongest nominees to win the African Player of the Year award
Most Nigerians especially fans of English club Chelsea cried ‘blue murder’ yesterday night, when Ivorian and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was announced winner of 2013 African Footballer of the Year (making it a third in a row).
But statistics point to the fact that the Ivorian deserves the accolades based on his performances in 2013.
Let’s not get confused, the award is basically an ‘individual award’, so the football club you play for or the country your represent winning all the prestigious tournaments like the FIFA World Cup, Nations Cup, Champions League or Europa League might not have any bearing or lead to your winning the award. It is your personal performance that will win you the awards at the end.
Mikel Obi scored his first goal for Chelsea FC in 2013
Yes, Mikel won the African Nations Cup with the Super Eagles in 2013, played a pivotal role as his club Chelsea won the Europa league, represented the country at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil and scored a beautiful goal against Uruguay and don’t forget by scoring his first ever premiership goal (after over 7 years in English football) in the win over rivals Fulham last October.
But the stats for the giant Ivorian Midfielder Yaya Toure totally dwarfs that of Mikel when they are both compared.
Yaya Toure joined Man City in 2010
Toure won the BBC African Footballer of the Year in December and has been one of the top five players in the English Premiere League (EPL) in the last six months. This season, he has scored 10 goals in 19 matches for Man City which is quite high for a midfielder, four of which are free kicks. He has assisted in 3 goals and is one of the players with the highest passing averages. This season alone, the all-action midfielder has scored in all competitions – Champions League, FA Cup, League cup and helped his country qualify for their third consecutive world cup. His club Manchester City did not win any trophy last neither did Ivory Coast his country but his individual performance surely did the trick for him. Mikel and Toure are both midfielders but the latter’s game has evolved over the years and is more dynamic while Mikel has been one dimensional.
Messi won the World Best Player Award in 2010
In 2010 Lionel Messi won the World Footballer of the Year Award which raised much controversy as some people thought Dutch midfielder Wesley Schneijder was a more worthy candidate. Schneijder, fans thought would win because because he had a wonderful season with his club Inter Milan of Italy winning a treble; Italian league and cup and Champions league while his goals took Netherland to the finals of the world cup. This gets to show that winning a trophy in most cases is always a collective effort but at times some players had single handed won trophies for their team.
Portsmouth’s Nwankwo Kanu celebrates victory after the final whistle during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Photo: PRESS ASSOCIATION
We were all hoping the Mikel who was flown in to the country for the awards in his club’s private jet would break the 15 years old jinx of winning the African Footballer of the Year awards for Nigeria after Kanu Nwankwo did it last in 1999. Apparently, Nigeria will have to wait for another 365 days.