Drogba, Africa’s Best Footballer

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Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast, one of the greatest footballers of modern times to emerge out of Africa has won the 2006 African Footballer of the Year award in a tightly contested race.

Drogba, 28, who had an outstanding season for top English club Chelsea and guided his country to the 2006 African Nations Cup final where the Elephants lost to host Egypt on penalties, outshone Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon who was gunning for a fourth successive award. The event was held in Accra, Ghana last Thursday.

In 2006, Eto'o beat Drogba by two votes in the tightly contested race for the African award. Drogba's team mate Michael Essien of Ghana came third for the second consecutive year in this competition in which 53 national team coaches from the entire African continent vote for the best football (soccer) player.

The Ivorian striker won 79 votes beating Eto'o who polled 74. Essien got 36 votes. African coaches gave three points to their first choice, two to their second pick and one to the third.

The Ivory Coast international joined Chelsea for 24 million pounds in July 2004 and has been in fine form this season with 28 goals to his credit in the English premier league. In 2004, Drogba was named France's Footballer of the Year and also won an award for scoring the season's best goal against Montpellier when he was still playing for Olympique Marseille.

Drogba was born on March 11, 1978 in Abidjan and grew up in France where he  took an interest in football. He first played for Ivory Coast in 2002 and in the year that followed signed for Olympique Marseille for four million pounds.
Chelsea players are desperate for him to stay with the English club and lead them in the fight for the championships.


Tsiko is The Black Star News’ Southern Africa correspondent based in Harare.


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