New ‘king’ of African football

By Frederick Mordi

 

Africa has a ‘new’ king of football. His name is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang

Aubameyang, 26, a Gabonese player and Borussia Dortmund striker, won the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Player of the Year Award, on January 7, 2016, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.  He beat Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure, who won the trophy last year, to the award, making history as the first Gabonese to wear the crown.

It was a very tight contest as coaches and technical directors of CAF member nations had awarded Aubameyang 143 points, while Toure, 32, who plays for Manchester City, earned 136 points. The third player in contention, a Ghanaian and Swansea midfielder, Andre Ayew, came third with 112 points.

Aubameyang certainly deserves the crown. He is the leading scorer in the German Bundesliga this season, with 18 goals in 17 league games. Had Toure won, he would have been the first African to wear the crown five times, having held the trophy for the last four years.

Though no player from the Super Eagles, the Nigerian national team, got to that stage of the award this year, the junior team managed to redeem the image of the country. Victor Osimhen of the Under 17 team won ‘Youth Player of the Year award,’ while Etebo Oghenekaro, whose efforts at the African qualifiers’ stage late last year, earned Nigeria a ticket to the Rio Olympic Games in football, received the ‘Most Promising Talent of the Year’ trophy.

For Gabon, which will host the next Africa Cup of Nations in 2017, Aubameyang’s award will no doubt serve as a motivation. The football-loving President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, who made global headlines last year, when he invited Lionel Messi to visit the African nation, is particularly delighted with the award. He described Aubameyang as an “exceptional Gabonese [who has] demonstrated dazzling intuition and an attack of unparalleled velocity,” in a statement.

There are rumours that Arsenal is trying to entice Aubameyang. But from his body language, the Gabonese does not seem to be in a hurry to join the Gunners. But then, everyman has his price, as they say. It is certain that other suitors will line up before long with bigger offers for the new African champion.

 

 

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