By Dom Farrell*
Yaya Toure says the decision to name Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as CAF player of the year ahead of him “brings shame to Africa.”
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has given a scathing assessment of the CAF player of the year awards after Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang kept him from scooping the continental prize for a record fifth time.
Toure has been handed the award for the past four years and was tipped to continue this streak, having captained the Ivory Coast to Africa Cup of Nations glory at the start of 2015, while continuing to be an influential presence in the Premier League for City.
But the 32-year-old was beaten by 143 points to 136 in the final vote by Gabon international Aubameyang, who finished as runner-up to Toure in the 2014 poll.
Aubameyang has been in sensational form for Dortmund during 2015-16, scoring 27 times in as many club appearances, but Toure felt it was regrettable that these achievements were preferred to his feat of leading the Ivory Coast to a first AFCON crown since 1992.
The former Barcelona star then remarkably likened the perceived injustice of him missing out on the award — which would have taken him above Cameroon great Samuel Eto’o on the list of all-time winners — to the corruption scandals that have engulfed football’s global governing body FIFA over recent months.
“I am very, very disappointed,” he told Afrique Foot. “It’s sad to see Africa react this way, that they don’t think African achievements are important. I think this is what brings shame to Africa, because to act in that way is indecent. But what can we do about it?
“Us Africans, we don’t show that Africa is important in our eyes. We favor more what’s abroad than our own continent. That is pathetic. Even FIFA, with all its history of corruption, wouldn’t do this.”
Toure has not featured for the Ivory Coast since March, and the player’s long-term international future could be in doubt after he said he will look out for himself after being “let down” by Africa.
“Yaya will take care of Yaya and let Africa take care of itself,” he said. “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. When I return to Europe, a lot of questions will be asked. I think I’m going to have to answer them. As I’m someone who’s honest, I will always tell the truth.”
Toure did take time to praise Aubameyang’s achievements, adding: “You were brilliant this year.”