Drogba is African player of the year

3 March 2007 at 23:37 | 924 views

By Abu B. Shaw, Vanguard London Bureau Chief

The naming of Didier Drogba(photo) as African Player of the Year on Saturday March 1 is the icing on the cake of his illustrious career. The Ivory Coast captain dethroned Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto by five votes.

Second spot went to the Cameroonian striker Eto who plies his trade with European Champions Barcelona FC. Eto, 25, who has been sidelined for half of this season through injury, has won the Golden Boot three times in a row for the past three years.

Didier Drogba’s Chelsea team mate and Ghana midfielder Michael Essien, 24, was voted in third place. Drogba joined Chelsea from Olympique Marseille of France for 24 million three years ago.

Receiving his prize in Ghana, Drogba, 28, wearing a colourful gown with a matching head dress, said his award would be meaningless if his premiership team failed to clinch the league title for the third time running. Currently, run away premiership leaders Manchester united, seem reluctant to allow Chelsea’s dream come true as they drubbed Liverpool 1-0 on Saturday March 3.

Drogba, already the premiership top scorer with 28 goals noted: “I may be the leading scorer but my greatest joy will come if we win the league again. I think we still have a pretty good chance - more than other contenders. The season is not yet over.”

Another accolade likely to knock on Drogba’s door is the Premiership Player of the Year. This prize is jealously contested between the African and Manchester United wizard and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, 22, who is second highest goal scorer so far.