Profiles of nominees for 2011 African Player of the Year
Herewith the profiles of the nominees for the 2011 African Player of the Year;
Taarabt was the best player of the English Championship side (Division One league) and helped his team climb to Premier League at the end of the 2010-2011 season. Observers and supporters consider him a highly gifted player. Since 2009, he became a Moroccan international having been part of the French U-17 and U-20 teams. He was first sidelined by Coach Eric Gerets in the match against Algeria in June 2011, but joined the team for the final CAN 2012 qualifier against Tanzania, scoring one goal and was voted man of the match.
He returned to Olympique Marseille in the 2010-2011 season after winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2009 with the Ghana U-20 team. He was first loaned to Arles-Avignon which he helped to accede to the French Ligue 1. He also helped his team Olympique Marseille to a second place finish in French Championship. He won the league Cup and the Super Cup. He was voted the club’s best player by the supporters. He scored his first two goals of the European Champions League on September 28, 2011 during the second group game against Borussia Dortmund and was also pivotal in the qualification of the Black Stars to 2012 CAN.
Gyan, who was classified among the Top 10 of the 2010 World Cup, scored 11 goals in 33 matches for Sunderland. He however hit a bad patch and was loaned to Al Ain in United Arab Emirates at the start of this season. The player and Ghanaian national team hope to do better in the 2012 CAN than in 2010 when they stumbled at the final against Egypt.
Drogba is an outstanding scorer who has won many accolades in the game with his club Chelsea. He scored 12 Premier League goals despite limited playing time last season. After an absence due to injury he returned to the Elephants and scored two goals against Benin in CAN 2012 qualifiers and another two as Cote d’Ivoire won all their 6 matches. He has been crowned "African Footballer of the Year" twice in 2006 and 2009.
5.Kevin Prince Boateng
The Ghanaian player has maintained his place in the AC Milan midfield, playing 34 matches in the championship last season. Boateng has done what he had difficulties doing a year ago. He featured in the qualifiers as Ghana sealed their place at the final tournament despite a season plaque back injuries.
6. Moussa Sow
Moussa Sow is a Senegalese striker born in France. He won the French championship and French Cup with Lille. He scored 25 goals in the championship with two hat-tricks, making him the most deadly attacker in the championship. He is also part of the new generation of the Senegalese national team which prevailed over Cameroon and DR Congo in the 2012 CAN qualifiers. Sow scored 5 goals in the qualifiers and will be one of those to watch in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
7. Samuel Eto’o
A top drawer performer who has won a lot in his career. In 2011, he won just a single trophy with Inter Milan, the Italian Cup and was named man of the match in the final, having scored two of the three goals. He scored 21 goals in 35 matches in the championship with lots of assists too. In spite of his four goals in the qualifiers Cameroon failed to qualify for the 2012 CAN. He was transferred for a three-year contract in August 2011 for 27 million Euros to FK Anzhi Makhatchkala, in the Russian championship.
In 2011, Keita won his second European title with Barcelona having been at the club since the 2008-2009 season. He also won his third consecutive La Liga title. He also won the European Super Cup and was runner-up of the Spanish Cup. After quitting the Eagles at the end of the 2010 CAN, he rejoined the team at the end of the 2012 CAN qualifiers and picked a qualification ticket for the 2012 jamboree at the beginning of 2012.
9.Yao Kouassi Gervais “Gervinho”
With 15 goals and 10 assists in the championship, Gervinho was instrumental in Lille’s first league title after 47 years. He also won the French Cup with Lille before signing for Arsenal at the end of the 2010-2011 season. This year, he became one of the pillars of the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, the only team to have recorded six victories in six matches in the 2012 CAN qualifiers. His 3 goals in the qualifiers make him second on the top goal scorer’s list.
After leaving FC Barcelona, Yaya Toure became one of the most valuable players in Manchester City, and is said to be among the highest paid players in the Premier League. His impeccable ball control, recovery and his intelligent reading of the game enabled him contribute in his team’s success in the FA Cup. He scored the solitary goal at the semi-final against Manchester United and again scored the only goal in the final against Stoke City. He was also one of the key players in Cote d’Ivoire’s success in the 2012 CAN qualifiers and scored important goals in their unbeaten streak.
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