Wed, Dec 22, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Eto’o named African soccer player of the year for fourth time

AFP, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o was named African Footballer of the Year a record fourth time at the annual CAF awards ceremony in Cairo on Monday.

The 29-year-old native of central town Nkon finished ahead of first-time finalist Asamoah Gyan of Ghana and former winner Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast in a poll among national coaches on the continent.

Eto’o, who won the most prestigious African soccer individual honor three years in a row from 2003, was voted the best player at the FIFA Club World Cup won by his Italian team Inter on Saturday.

The Cameroonian scored a clinical, close-range second goal in a 3-0 triumph over TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the first African club to reach the final of the 10-year competition.

Inter are now champions of the world, Europe and Italy, and the goals of former Real Madrid, Real Mallorca and Barcelona star Eto’o have played a pivotal role in those successes.

However, he had meager success as captain of the Cameroon “Indomitable Lions” this year with the team making a meek quarter-finals exit from the African Nations Cup in Angola.

The leading all-time scorer in this competition scored once against Zambia and Tunisia, but the Lions suffered a shock group loss to Gabon and defending champions Egypt outclassed them in the first knockout round.

Cameron then fared disastrously at the first World Cup hosted by Africa last June, losing all three group matches under the leadership of Eto’o and were the first country eliminated from the competition.

TP Mazembe, the four-time African Champions League winners, who stunned Internacional of Brazil 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates last week before finishing runners-up to Inter, were named Club of the Year.

Milovan Rajevac, the humble Serb coach who made this year such a memorable year for Ghana, took the Coach of the Year award. He resigned after the World Cup to join Saudi Arabian club al-Ittihad Jeddah.

Other award winners included Al-Ahly and Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan (Africa-based Player) and Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah (Most Promising Talent), while Ghana were predictably named best national team.

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