For a man who had won the African footballer of the year award four successive times, Yaya Toure, the Ivory Coast-born midfielder, had probably come to regard the annual award as something of a birthright. He had expected to win the award for the fifth successive time this year and his failure to nick it explains his disappointment and comments credited to him after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gabonese born attacker was declared the winner of the prize called the Glo-CAF African Footballer of the year Award.
Not long after losing out on the crown, Toure, in an interview with Radio France Internationale, was quoted as saying thus: “I’m very, very disappointed. It’s sad to see Africa react this way, that they don’t think African achievements are important.” By African achievement, Toure was probably referring to his medal as African nation’s cup winner early last year with his national team, Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire, to say nothing of his outstanding contributions to his club, Manchester City of England, which he feels should have earned him the award.
Unable to make sense of the Confederation of African Football, CAF’s decision to crown Aubameyang, Toure bemoaned: “I think this is what brings shame to Africa because to act in that way is indecent. But what can we do about it? Us (sic) Africans, we don’t show that Africa is important in our eyes. We favour more what’s abroad than our own continent. That is pathetic.”
Not done, the player compared the club achievements of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo ahead of the award of the FIFA World Player of the year. He wondered what people would say were Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, who won no trophy in 2015, voted the world’s best player ahead of Messi of Barcelona who won four trophies the same season.
If you are, at this stage surprised at Toure’s outburst, there is the more shocking one from the tall midfielder: “Even FIFA, with all its history of corruption, wouldn’t do (what CAF judges did),” said Toure, before adding that henceforth “Yaya will take care of Yaya and let Africa take care of itself. As I’ve been told many times, you can’t take care of Africa too much because Africa will be the first to let you down.”
So much for losing an award, you might say. Incidentally, Toure is not the only African footballer, who thinks that Aubameyang doesn’t deserve the award, except that the other person, Asamoah Gyan, feels the award should have gone to Andre Ayew, his countryman, instead of Toure. In an interview with Ghana Web, Gyan, now on the payroll of Shanghai SIPG, said emphatically. “”Aubameyang doesn’t deserve the African Footballer of the Year award.”
Interestingly, however, both Toure and Gyan acknowledge Aubameyang’s quality. While Toure admitted that the Gabonese had been “doing brilliantly well this year,” Gyan described him as “a very, very good striker” who had done well for his club, Borussia Dortmund of Germany, in the year under review. The only point of disagreement for the Ghanaian is that Aubameyang “did very little at the Africa Cup of Nations” in Equatorial Guinea, unlike Ayew who played in the final of the competition against Toure’s Cote d’ Ivoire.