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Profiles of nominees for Glo-CAF Player of the Year 2009
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) in partnership with Globacom, has unveiled the shortlists for the Glo-CAF Player of the Year 2009.
The nominees were outdoored at a Press Conference held on Thursday, at the Mike Adenuga Towers in Lagos, Nigeria.
The nominees for the Glo-CAF Player of the Year 2009 are as follows:
*Michael Essien (Ghana and Chelsea)
*Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon and Inter Milan)
*Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire and Chelsea)
*Seydou Keita (Mali and Barcelona)
*Yaya Toure (Cote d’Ivoire and Barcelona).
The winner will be decided by votes from head coaches of the National Associations affiliated to CAF taking into consideration the performance of each nominee during the year under review.
The eventual winner will be announced at the Awards Gala fixed for February 25, 2010 at a yet to be determined venue.
Togo and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor was crowned the Glo-CAF Player of the Year 2008 at the Awards Gala held early this year.
This year’s edition will be the fifth time in succession that telecommunications giants, Globacom are sponsoring the event that seeks to reward outstanding African footballers. During the past four years, the Awards Gala has been organized in Abuja, Accra, Lome and Lagos in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Below are the profiles of the nominees:
Full Name: Michael Essien
Date of birth: December 3, 1982 (age 27)
Place of birth: Accra, Ghana
Current club: Chelsea
Previous Clubs: Liberty Professionals (Ghana), Bastia SC , Olympique Lyon
Caps: 45 (8 goals)
Essien was born on December 3, 1982 in Accra to Ghanaian parents Aba Gyandoh and James Essien, and started his career like any other Ghanaian footballer playing on the streets of Accra. He had his secondary education at St. Augustine College at Cape Coast , one of the highly respected institutions in Ghana before joining Liberty Professionals, then in the lower division. The hard tackling midfielder was roped into the national juvenile team, Black Starlets by veteran trainer Cecil Jones Attuquayefio and he was instrumental as the team clinched bronze at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Zealand .
After the tournament, his exploits attracted several European clubs but he opted for French side, Bastia SC where his exploits after three season earned him a lucrative move to Olympique Lyon. He was nicknamed “The Bison” due to his formidable strength, competitiveness and combativeness in the middle.
It was this style that made him a fan of Portuguese-born trainer, Jose Mourinho, who doled out a staggering 24.4 million pounds (38 million Euros), the highest ever for an African player to lure him to Chelsea in 2005.
Essien made his national team debut at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali only for a serious injury to rule him out of the competition after playing in the opener against Morocco.
Four years on, he was tirelessly involved as Ghana qualified for her first ever World Cup in Germany before exiting at the 1/16th stage after a 0-3 loss to Brazil .
During the Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, he was fondly remembered as one of originators of the “Kangaroo Dance” celebration style of the Black Stars anytime scored and was very influential as the Black Stars bagged bronze.
The highly regarded midfielder had been consistent for the Black Stars and played an influential in their qualification for the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Angola and the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
Since 2006, he has made final shortlist for the coveted CAF Footballer of the Year.
SAMUEL ETO’O FILS
Full name: Samuel Eto'o Fils
Date of birth: March 10, 1981
Place of birth: Nkon, Cameroon
Current club: Inter Milan
Previous clubs: Real Madrid, Leganes, Espanyol, Mallorca, Barcelona
Caps: 87 (42 goals)
Samuel Eto'o Fils was born on March 10, 1981 in Nkon, Cameron. He cut his footballing teeth at the famous Kandji Sports Academy before landing a lucrative move to Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1997. Then a teenager, he was loaned out second division outfit Leganes before sealing a move to Mallorca where he scored 48 goals in 120 appearances during his four year stint. Eto’o joined Barcelona in a widely expected move in summer 2004 and it was with the Catalans that his became a constant on the scorers chart across the globe. He scored over 100 goals in five seasons with FC Barcelona, and is also the record holder in number of appearances by an African player in La Liga. He is the second player to have ever scored in two separate UEFA Champions League finals in 2005 and 2008. As a member of the Cameroon national team, he was a part of the squad that won the 2000 Olympic tournament; he has participated in two World Cups and five African Nations Cups (being champion twice), and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the African Nations Cup, with 16 goals.
The petit-looking striker was handed the captain’s armband by new Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen and he played an integral role in the qualification for the first ever World Cup to be staged on African soil, next year in South Africa and the Orange Africa Cup of Nations.
Eto’o was named CAF African Footballer of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Full name: Didier Drogba
Date of birth: March 11, 1978
Place of birth: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Current club: Chelsea
Previous clubs: Le Mans, Guingamp, Marseille
Caps: 60 (41 goals)
Drogba was born in Abidjan on March 11, 1981 and currently plays for English Club, Chelsea. As a young child Drogba moved to France, living with various family members and after playing in youth teams, Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for Ligue 2 club Le Mans. A late bloomer, he signed his first professional contract aged 21 but it wasn't until the 2002 and 2003 season that he realised his potential, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances in Ligue 1 for Guingamp. During the same season he made his first international appearance for Cote d'Ivoire in September and scored his first international goal the following February. He moved to Olympique de Marseille in 2003 and his prolific ways continued, finishing as the third highest scorer in the league with 19 goals and making it to the 2004 UEFA Cup Final.
Drogba joined Chelsea in 2004 and has carved a niche for himself as one of the greatest players in recent times to have played at Stamford Bridge. His commitment to his national team remains unquestionable and was pivotal in their qualification for their 18th appearance at the continental showpiece soccer event slated for Angola next year as well as the second berth at the Mundial. The huge striker was crowned African Footballer of the Year in 2006 at the Awards Gala held in Accra, Ghana.
Full name: Seydou Keita
Date of birth: January 16, 1980
Place of birth: Bamako, Mali
Current club: Barcelona
Previous clubs: Marseille, Lorient, Lens, Sevilla
Caps: 51 (13 goals)
Seydou Keita started his career with the Salif Keita Centre, incidentally owned by his uncle and Mali legend, Salif Keita. Born on January 16, 1980 in Bamako, Keita has risen to become one of the most popular African football exports to Europe. He joined Marseille in 1997, first with the youth team but it was not until September 1999 that he made his debut for the former European champions. Shortly, after he transferred to Lorient, Lens and Spanish club, Sevilla where he realized his full potential.
On 26 May 2008, Keita signed a four-year contract with Barcelona becoming the first Malian to join the Nou Camp outfit.
He is regarded as one of the most skillful African players for his passing, control, vision, and shooting skills. He forms a midfield duo with Mahamadou Diarra of Real Madrid and sometimes with his cousin Mohamed Sissoko of Italian giants Juventus. The midfielder played a yeoman’s role as Barcelona claimed the UEFA Champions League title in 2009 beating Manchester United of England 2-0 in the final in Moscow, Russia, and also for the Malian national team as they reached qualified for the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Angola 2010.
The highlight of his career was being adjudged the Golden Ball winner at the FIFA U020 World Cup held in Nigeria in 2009, where he led Mali to a third place.
Full name: Gnégnéri Touré Yaya
Date of birth: May 13, 1983
Place of birth: Bouake, Côte d'Ivoire
Current club: Barcelona
Previous clubs: Beveren, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, Monaco
Caps: 34 (5 goals)
Touré joined the famous ASEC Mimosas youth academy in 1996 on the recommendation of his long-time mentor Patrick van Reijendam. He then moved to Europe where he played for Belgian side Beveren for two-and-a-half years and later for one and a half years at Ukrainan side Metalurh Donetsk.
Born on May 13, 1983, joined Barcelona in a 9 million Euro deal from French giants Monaco after emerging as one of the best players of the Ivorian national team during their maiden World Cup appearance in Germany in 2006. The shy-looking player is also the first man from his native to play for the Catalan giants. Toure is a defensive midfielder renowned for coupling physical power with great technique.
The midfielder was a member of the Barcelona squad that claimed the UEFA Champions League diadem in 2009 beating Manchester United 2-0 in the grand finale in Moscow, Russia.
At the national team level, he has remained consistent since making his debut in 2004 and has featured at the Africa Cup of Nations twice in 2006 and 2008.
He was one of the main architects of the Elephants qualification for the Orange Africa Cup of nations, Angola 2010 and the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
Toure is the younger brother of Manchester City captain and defender Kolo Touré. He also has a younger brother named Ibrahim who currently plays for Al-Ittihad in Syria.
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