Yaya Touré success Provokes controversy

Yaya Toure king of Africa“If You were a Coach/Manager with your job on the line and for the most important Game of your career, you had to choose between John Obi Mikel and Yaya Touré to help you win and save your team and your job, whom would you Pick, sentiments aside? ”

As I opened the sealed Envelope to reveal and announce the Winner of the Prestigious African Player of the year Award, I sensed and knew there and then that it was going to provoke an immediate controversy!

Declaring Yaya Touré as the winner in contrast to the in-house crowd favourite (John Obi Mikel) all hell was let loose as Nigerians felt they had been robbed one way or the other! Justified?

Information reaching me (though un0confirmed)was that Yaya Touré had 373 votes against Mikel’s 265 to win the CAF Player of the Year Award again for a third consecutive year!

The Controversy : Does Yaya Touré deserve the accolade in a 2013 year where he won no silverware both for club and country?

Three players were short listed for Africa’s most prestigious individual award: Didier Drogba,John Obi Mikel and Eventual Winner,Yaya Touré of Manchester City!

Arguments For John Obi Mikel

At the National team level,2013 was the best year for Mikel. He was instrumental as Nigeria rode on along to win the AFCON in South Africa. Defeating Yaya Touré led Ivory Coast at the Quarter Finals!

He helped his clubside,Chelsea, to the European League club title and though at the second part of the year was not a full regular player in the starting Eleven of Chelsea has managed to end the year on a high as he regained a more prominent role back in the team!

Mikel was Nigeria’s best performer at the Summer Confederations Cup held in Brazil as he put up a  5 star performance most especially against Spain at the group contest!

Obi Mikel led Nigeria to the world cup 2014 qualification in Brazil and though a sentimental argument as against factual, many feel as the awards were being held in Lagos (Nigeria) Mikel should have been voted winner!

Arguments For Yaya Touré

No Yaya Toure, no Manchester City, no competitive Ivory Coast senior National Team!

Yaya is by far the most highly regarded African player in the world today! You just have to see the look of desperation and fear on the faces of his coaches, team mates and supporters each time he falls down and is thought to be injured!

Yaya Touré scored four goals as Ivory coast booked its third consecutive world cup ticket( Brazil 2014) .

Yaya scored at the Nations Cup 2013 in South Africa one of the best goals of the tournament and was one of the rare “positives” of his team at the AFCON 2013!

At the club level (Manchester City)week in week out he is instrumental in their success. Assistant captain of his team and though a Defensive midfielder, is one of the highest goal scorers of Man.  City.

He is responsible for dictating the tempo and play of his team, takes and scores free kicks often, leads by example and is not only “African Strong” but is also “African Fast” in pace.

Had Yaya not been in the Manchester City Line up last football season, they would not have reached this seasons champions league football where he is currently excelling, his performances made the difference!


    My Take

Both players deserve to be crowned Africa’s best, but there can only be one winner and the votes separated these two World class players.

This accolade is aimed at a players’ performance and not a team’s success otherwise the category of team of the year would be scrapped, so team success takes backstage here.

However, it is important the role a player plays in elevating his team to winning titles and attaining set objectives.

It also does not matter where and how the player plays as it is aimed at the player who is best worldwide and is African! George Weah won this honours twice whilst not having played at the AFCON events as his country failed to Qualify!

Yaya Touré was voted BBC African Player of the year 2013 voted by the fans and says a lot in my view!

In all, though out of sentiments many, myself inclusive would have loved to see this amazing year 2013 end with a Nigerian crowned as African Player of the year, we have to accept the votes and Yaya Touré as Africa’s best as the voters decided!

Yaya is quite an extra-ordinary player and John Obi Mikel should take solace from the fact that he was beaten by one of the best players in the world at the moment at the very top of his game!



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January 12, 2014 1:21 pm Published by

1 Comment

  • Tunde olayinka says:

    Hi Sunday, you are about the most intelligent and articulate ex footballer of these times,but I disagree with your submission on the following grounds:
    1) the award is for African footballer of the year 2013 and not necessarily African footballer of the year in perpetuity. I.e who performed and achieved the most for club and COUNTRY in 2013 and not necessarily who is the most talented or “best player” as we indeed know yaya is other wise jay jay Okocha would have won the award for all the four years that Samuel eto did!
    2) Mikel won the Europa and CAF Nations cup in the year and was a major influence to his team in both achievements. Yes Yaya was probably the best player in city but then him and them achieved nothing. Mikel’s feat of winning the nation’s cup was also achieved by defeating a yaya toure led Cote d Voire along the way.
    3) Most importantly , this award being given by Africans to African should reward the winner of Africa ‘s flagship competition when the competition year coincides with the year of award and most especially when that winner is a player of the pedigree of Mikel who is a super star in his own right having excelled in Europe right up to champion ‘s league level( even though that happened in a previous year). Off course the same can not be said of the Zambians in who don’t even have any decent player worthy of such accolade in their ranks.
    4) The Hayatou led CAF have now told the whole world that its flagship competition is trash. Europeans must be laughing by now !You NEVER disregard what is your own World Cup!
    5) the well established Hayatou conspiracy – very strangely ,Jonathan pitroipa won the MVP at the afcon ahead of mikel. Okay if he was so good, why was he not even in a short list of five for African footballer of the year. This tells me that all caf have done is to find someone else to give a prestigious award to in place of a nigerian, in this case poor mikel obi.
    6) what on earth did Didier drogba do in 2013 to get in a short list of three!

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