Adebayor crowned 2008 Africa Player of the Year | inside World Soccer

Adebayor crowned 2008 Africa Player of the Year

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been named 2008 Africa Player of the Year at a glittering Glo-CAF Awards ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Arsenal striker beat off strong competition from Ghana midfielder Michael Essien and Egypt playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika in a vote of Africa's 53 national coaches.

The 24-year-old, the Togolese Player of the Year for the past four seasons, scored 30 goals in all competitions for Arsenal during 2008, and played a pivotal role for Togo as they advanced to the last phase of the African qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

Adebayor becomes the first player from his country to win the honor in the award's 38-year history.

He said: "As you know, tonight is a special night for me. I am very honoured to be here with you, especially in Lagos. I am very happy and very pleased.

"My mum is here with me. Unfortunately my father is not alive anymore but I know that wherever he is, he will be very proud of me.

"I would love to dedicate this to my mum, because without her I cannot be here.

"And I would like to say as well that we African people, we have to believe. As we know, (World Cup) 2010 is coming to Africa and we have to help each other as a family, and as a unit we can do something.

"So we have to believe and if we believe we can achieve this."

Ivory Coast and Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou was named Young Player of the Year in a category for footballers under the age of 23, beating off competition from Rennes midfielder Stephane Mbia and Inter Milan striker Victor Obinna.

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