- Title: NIGERIA: SOCCER/FOOTBALL: Yaya Toure lands African footballer of year award
- Date: 10th January 2014
- Summary: LAGOS, NIGERIA (JANUARY 9, 2014) (REUTERS) AUDIENCE AT AWARDS CEREMONY
- Embargoed: 25th January 2014 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA7CAOPQG031K4T6HLBGO83PVKA
- Story Text: Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure landed his third successive African Footballer of the Year award on Thursday (January 9) to cap a memorable week.
The Manchester City player edged out Nigeria's John Obi Mikel and fellow Ivorian Didier Drogba to make it a hat-trick of wins, emulating Abedi Pele and Samuel Eto'o.
Just 24 hours after storming halfway down the pitch to score a goal in City's 6-0 demolition of West Ham United in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, a teary-eyed Toure was the toast of African football as he picked up the award at a gala ceremony in Lagos.
"To be honest with you, it was quite tight I know, to be honest with you because there was good opponent for me you know doing equally well, there was good player from Nigeria. I think for me I was thinking maybe I will lose it but I think I'm lucky today, I am very proud of myself and what I'm doing now, I'm doing very well and I'm very happy with that," said Toure while addressing journalists after the award ceremony.
Nigeria's head coach, Stephen Keshi was awarded best coach for 2013.
"For me I couldn't have won the best coach of the year if not for my players, I cannot do it alone and also, if not for my assistant coaches, they're the ones behind the scene you know, working their head off and all those time, it's not easy so I just come out to blab my mouth a little bit but they are the ones behind," Keshi said.
Yaya Toure came top of a poll voted by Africa's national team coaches, who had Mikel second and Drogba third.
Toure's success came at the end of a bleak 12-month period for individual achievement by African footballers. Toure's official citation praised him for his role in helping the Ivorians to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil but the choice is more likely for his consistency at club level in England and the dominant role he plays at Manchester City.
Chelsea's Mikel was on the shortlist after helping Nigeria to the African Nations Cup title in February.
Toure joins an elite club following his hat-trick of wins.
Ghanaian Abedi Pele won three in a row between 1991-93 while Cameroonian Eto'o took the award from 2003-05.
Eto'o, who plays up front for Chelsea, also won it in 2010.
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