By Steph Tony.
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 and was decorated at the 2015 Glo-CAF Awards Gala held January 7th 2016 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria.
The feat by Aubameyang ended the four-year reign of Toure, which lasted 2011 to 2014.
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 tea teammate 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 and Cameroon scooped the Women’s National Team of the Year prize.
DR Congo giants, TP Mazembe, Club of the Year, whilst 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 whilst picked his Mbappe Leppe.
The event, sponsored by Nigerian telecommunication outfit, Globacom, was a night to celebrate and reward sporting excellence, also showcased superb and first-class entertainment from outstanding entertainers across different parts of Africa. There also were musical performances by;
- Shatta Wale (Ghana),
- Ahmed Soultan (Morocco),
- Salif Keita (Mali),
- Awilo Longomba (DR Congo) and
- Nigerians King Sunny Ade, Dija, Korede Bello, Flavour, Omawumi, Bez and Ego.
The crème de la crème of football administrators around the continent were in attendance.
BELOW ARE FULL WINNERS OF THE GALA YEAR 2015.
- PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon).
- AFRICAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR BASED IN AFRICA: Mbwana Aly.
- SAMATTA WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Gaelle Enganamouit (Cameroon).
- YOUTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Victor Osimehn (Nigeria).
- MOST PROMISING TALENT OF THE YEAR: Etebo Peter Oghenekahro (Nigeria).
- COACH OF THE YEAR: Herve Renard (France) – Former Coach of Cote d’Ivoire.
- REFEREE OF THE YEAR: Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia).
- NATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR: Cote d’Ivoire.
- WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR: Cameroon.
- CLUB OF THE YEAR: TP Mazembe (DR Congo).
- AFRICAN LEGEND: Charles Kumi Gyamfi (Ghana) and Samuel Mbappe Leppe (Cameroon).
- AFRICA FINEST XI Goalkeeper: Robert Muteba Kidiaba (DR Congo).
- DEFENDERS: Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire), Aymen Abdennour (Tunisia), Mohamed Meftah (Algeria).
- MIDFIELDERS: Andre Ayew (Ghana), Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Yacine Brahimi (Algeria).
- FORWARDS: Mbwana Aly Samatta (Tanzania), Pierre Emerrick Aubameyang (Gabon), Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria).
- SUBSTITUTES: Djigui Diarra (Mali) Azubuike Okechucku (Nigeria) Kelechi Nuakali (Nigeria) Zinedine Ferhat (Algeria) Adama Traoreh (Mali) Victor Osimhen (Nigeria) Kermit Erasmus (South Africa).
As you can see, hard work pays. They paid the prize, they made it. You can do the same.