Who wins Africa’s best? …At today’s Glo-CAF Awards in Lagos

african cupThe much-heralded celebrated Glo-CAF Awards comes off today at the swish Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos with Cote d’Ivoire and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure gunning for a fourth straight best African Player award.

Toure will contest the Holy Grail with Gabon striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and local favourite, Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

The trio made the cut following votes from head coaches or technical directors of the national associations affiliated with CAF.

Should the Holy Grail go Toure’s way tonight, he would have equalled the stupendous record of Cameroon’s Eto’t Fils who also garnered it home on four occasions.

Despite chalking lots of individual honours last year, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan could not make the final cut so couldn’t Ahmed Musa of Nigeria.

The Ghanaian ferocious goal-poacher enjoyed a fantastic calendar year, recording home some fine successes for club and country. He scored 29 goals to win the top scorer award in the UAE and became the first African to score in three successive World Cups.

Gyan was also on target six times for Ghana last year and broke the nation’s all-time top scoring record as well. Again, he helped Al Ain to reach the Asian Champions League semi-final and also upstaged Roger Milla’s long-standing record of five goals at the World Cup.

In addition, he was the top scorer in the Asian Champions League, as well as in the UAE top flight and was voted the best foreign player in Asia, last November.

But all the imposing feats would not matter again in Lagos tonight as Toure is said to be odds on favourite to ride home the finest African Player gong, once again.

For the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa), Algerian duo, Akram Djahnit and El Hedi Belamieri are in contention with DR Congo’s forward Firmin Mubele Ndombe.

Other categories are National Team of The Year, Club of The Year, Referee of the Year and Coach of The Year.

The rest are Most Promising Talent, Women’s National Team of The Year, Women’s Player of The Year, African Legend, CAF Fair Play Award, Youth Player of the Year and Platinum Award.

Africa’s finest XI will also be revealed on the night which will be attended by the crème de la crème of the continent’s football icons.

There are also two new categories; Goal of the Year and Save of the Year, to be decided by votes from the public.

This is the third time Lagos will be hosting the event, after 2008 and 2013. Previous host cities were Abuja (2005), Accra (2006, 2009, 2011, 2012), Lome (2007) and Cairo (2010).

The Nigerian telecommunication giant, Globacom has sponsored the annual awards Gala, since 2005.

From 2005 to date, outstanding African players have won the Glo CAF Awards. Samuel Eto’o Fils of Cameroon emerged the winner of the inaugural edition in Abuja in 2005.

The former captain of the Cote d’Ivoire national team, Didier Drogba, clinched the 2006 edition in Ghana.

In 2007, it was the turn of Malian International, Freddy Kanoute.  In 2008, Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo emerged the winner in Lagos, while Didier Drogba got the award in Accra in 2009.

Samuel Eto’o Fils picked the Award yet again in 2010 in Egypt, while Yaya Toure of Cote d’Ivoire emerged the winner (back to back) in 2011 and 2012. Before then, some top Nigerian players like Rashidi Yekini, Kanu Nwankwo and Victor Ikpeba had clinched the title.

Today’s potentially explosive event will see a long retinue of football greats and administrators from the continent and other parts of the world.

As expected, the night will be glowed by some of the world’s finest musicians including Nigeria’s sensation, Flavour Nabania, the global Jazz icon, Hugh Masekela and multi-award winning Nigerian Afrobeat star, Lagbaja.

Other leading artistes scheduled to perform at the high profile continental event are Congo DR’s multiple award-winning song writer, singer and guitarist, Fally Ipupa; Egyptian folk singer and the first from an Arab country to perform at a Nobel Prize ceremony, Abdel Hakim Abdel Samad Kamel.

The Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa, amazing singing group, Uhuru, Pan African group, Cirque d’Afrique; and Tanzania’s prominent multiple award winning singer, Diamond, are some of the other acts also slated to perform at the event.

Other stars also slated to light up the night are Hip-hop sensations and Globacom Ambassadors, P-Square, Wande Coal and one of Nigeria’s most prominent female singers and Globacom Ambassador, Omawumi.

The annual awards event, sponsored by Globacom, is held to celebrate the continent’s finest footballers and administrators and attended by world sports icons, businessmen and entertainment heavyweights.

By John Vigah

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