Yaya Toure wins Africa's soccer player of the year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 1:46am


Ivorian Yaya Toure has won Africa's top football honour, beating countryman Didier Drogba and Alexandre Song of Cameroon for the CAF player of the year award.

Manchester City's Toure, 29, claimed the prize for the second consecutive year, capping a season where he helped guide his club to the English Premier League title, their first in 44 years.

His crucial double against Newcastle in May made for a dramatic chapter in City's championship bid as the club ultimately edged out bitter rival Manchester United on goal differential in a nail-biting finish. The giant midfielder appeared close to tears as his name was called at the ceremony in Ghana's capital.

"I have a lot of emotion," he said after climbing the stage to accept the award.

"I think this night is so special for me."

Toure has been praised by City's manager Roberto Mancini for his ability to fill so many roles.

The star has said he hopes for a prolonged stay at the club and has predicted that more titles could be on the way.

He also remains a crucial component of the Ivory Coast national side, a perennial contender for the African Cup of Nations crown.

Ivory Coast narrowly lost to Zambia at the most recent continental tournament, reaching the final thanks in part to strong play from Toure, who said the side would have to win some hard contests if it hoped to reclaim the cup.

"I think this year is going to be tough. I think there's going to be a fight to be at the top," he said after accepting the award.

Toure's second CAF honour came on a night when Drogba, the former Chelsea star now playing for Shanghai Shenhua, was in line for his third win.

Drogba was seeking to take a step closer to the record of Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o with four trophies, but described his fellow Ivorian as a deserving winner who had played with impressive "consistency over the past two years".

"Being in competition against Yaya and Alex was very difficult," Drogba said. "I don't mind if Yaya wins. I'm very proud."

Song, a 25-year-old emerging midfield superstar, was nominated for the first time this year, after a season that included strong play for Arsenal before his transfer to Barcelona.