Last week, Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got his 2016 off to a great start by winning the coveted CAF African Player of the Year award. Aubameyang’s form for BVB has been incredible of late, with 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga matches and a further four assists. The striker has well and truly hit the ground running and become one of the most wanted players in the Bundesliga, with many teams looking at him for the January transfer window. He is one of the new emerging African talents, and often wows people not only one the pitch, but on games like FiFA16, too. However one person was very upset at this, that man I hear you say is Yaya Toure.
Toure of course is known for having temper tantrums – famously getting annoyed at not being wished Happy Birthday by the Manchester City club page. In the end, he was quickly given a cake to shut him up… and a bumper new contract to keep him at the Etihad. Yet for one of the best and most successful African footballers of the past decade, is it fair for him to be throwing a tantrum? Should his continent have given him a runner-up cake to keep him sweet? This is the man who won the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 award, and should surely want some competition!
Toure was quoted as saying, “I’ll give an example. Messi won all the trophies but it’s Cristiano Ronaldo who won the award [Ballon d’Or 2014]. What would you say? It’s unfair. But even Fifa, with all its history of corruption, wouldn’t do [what CAF judges did]. 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.”
Considering he has not be anywhere near the player Augbameyang has been this season, with only five goals in 18 appearances and five assists, the African football federation were right to not give him the award.
Toure this season has not provided the quality he can, rather benefiting from knowing his place in the Manchester City side is safe and not under threat from another player, and that has shown in his performances. Against Everton he was far from his best, with his head not looking in the game. This could be put down to the fact that City bought fresh talent in the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne in to take the workload off Toure. Yaya is now of course 32, and cannot be expected to be getting all the awards if he is not being the main man in the team. How many fans can seriously name Toure as City’s standout player this year?
Footballers should use the competition of awards to propel themselves to make them better, and Toure should do the same. The fact that a new player got the award surely shows that African football as a whole is still growing, and it should show just how exciting its potential is. Rather than throw a tantrum, Toure should use this to motivate himself to be a better player, to be a role model to those new players coming in.