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Thursday, December 20, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: December 21, 9:02 AM UK
Toure named African Player of the Year

ESPN staff

Yaya Toure has been named the 2012 African Player of the Year, picking up the award for the second year in a row.

Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Toure, 29, beat off prestigious competition from the likes of former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Barcelona's Alex Song who ended second and third.

Toure appeared overwhelmed when accepting the award on stage and he believes the African Cup of Nations in January will be one of the closest tournaments in the last decade.

"I have a lot of emotion," he said. "I think this night is so special for me. I think this year is going to be tough. I think there's going to be a fight to be at the top."

Jack Rodwell believes Yaya Toure will be missed by his club side when he departs for national team duties next month, saying: "Yaya would be a big loss for us. He's been amazing so far and has been the engine in midfield, so he would be missed."

Drogba's exploits in Chelsea's Champions League victory last season made him a strong favourite for the award, but he has praised the consistent Toure as a deserved winner.

"Being in competition against Yaya and Alex was for me very difficult," Drogba said. "For me, I don't mind if Yaya wins. I'm very proud."

The award means that Toure joins Senegalese forward El-Hadji Diouf on two victories, but he has some way to go to eclipse the achievement of Samuel Eto'o who has picked up the prize on four separate occasions.

The Ivory Coast player was crowned at an awards gala in Accra, the capital of Ghana, after being voted for by the head coaches or technical directors of the national associations affiliated to the CAF.

African Nations Cup winners Zambia were named team of the year with their coach Herve Renard named coach of the year.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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