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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 01 - 2014

Legendary Ahli footballer Mohamed Abu Treika has been named Player of the Year (Based in Africa) for an unprecedented fourth time. The 35-year-old Egyptian superstar received the Glo-CAF Awards at a gala held last Thursday in Lagos, Nigeria. He was awarded the prize by CAF Executive Committee member Adoum Djibrine.
The award comes following Abu Treika's announced retirement following the Club World Cup held in December. He had been hounded by criticism the past year for being a sympathiser of the Muslim Brotherhood which had been ruling Egypt until last summer but are now officially labeled a terrorist organisation.
Abu Treika's previous African titles came in 2006, 2008 and 2012. He was first in this year's poll, ahead of teammate Ahmed Fathi and Sunday Mba of Nigeria. Abu Treika has never won the overall African Player of the Year. The only Egyptian to garner that allocade was Mahmoud Al-Khatib in 1983.
Abu Treika played a big role in leading Ahli to the Orange CAF Champions League title last year, scoring in both legs of the final against South African side Orlando Pirates. He also did a great job with the Egyptian national team as he scored six times to lead Egypt to the playoffs of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Abu Treika's win made it a double for Ahli which won the African Club of the Year prize for the second consecutive time. Ahli President Hassan Hamdi congratulated the players, workers and members of club for the effort they made to reach to retain the title for the second time. “A number of factors led to such an achievement,” Hassan told Al-Ahram. “All the managerial, medical and technical committees worked together with the players as one team. That is the key to success. Furthermore, the board members of Ahli have always been there to resolve any problems players have had during the year.
“What adds a special taste to this title is that it came in spite of the political situation Egypt and especially after the massacre in Port Said.”
Hamdi was referring to the deaths of 72 football fans, mostly Ahli supporters, in a league game played in February 2012. The deaths are included in the overall level of violence which increased in Egypt in the past three years after the forced removal of two sitting presidents.
Sayed Abdel-Hafeez, Ahli's football manager, said Ahli's winning two super titles in the same year “is really a difficult equation that came with a lot of effort and hard work. We faced a number of challenges as a team and we were up to the challenge. The players did their best and it is the right honour for them.”
On the other hand, Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure, the 30-year old who for English giants Manchester City, was crowned African Player of the Year for the third time in a row. Toure saw off competition from compatriot Didier Drogba and John Obi Mikel of Nigeria for the most prestigious individual honour in African football. Toure, who was crowned the finest player on the continent in 2011 and 2012, garnered 373 votes against 265 and 236 by Mikel and Drogba respectively. The winner was decided by votes from the head coaches of the national associations affiliated to CAF.
Adds cafonline: the ceremony was attended by dignitaries who graced the event include CAF President Issa Hayatou, Executive Governor of Lagos Babatunde Fashola Raji Fashola, Nigeria's Minister of Minister of Youth and Sport Alhaji Bolaji Abdullah, and CAF Executive Committee members.
Despite missing out on the two awards, Nigeria confirmed their dominance in the other categories. The Super Eagles were adjudged National Team of the Year and the Golden Eaglets (national U-17 team) as Youth National Team of the Year. The Super Eagles eased past Ethiopia and Burkina Faso to the prize whilst the Eaglets were the only nominee in their category. Trainer Stephen Kechi was named Coach of the Year at the expense of compatriot Manu Garba and Burkina Faso's Paul Put. Teenager Kelechi Iheanacho scooped the Most Promising Talent gong, fending off challenges from Saleh Gomaa of Egypt and Ghanaian Ebenezer Assifuah.
The Nigeria Supporters Club also picked up the Fair Play prize to complete an impressive night for Nigeria while Algerian Haimoudi retained Referee of the Year prize.
There were also posthumous Legends Awards for former Senegal coach Bruno Metsu and former Morocco coach Mehdi Faria who both passed away last year.
Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan was honoured with the Platinum Award for his support to the development of football in Africa's most populous country.
Award winners
Player of the Year
Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire and Manchester City)
Player of the Year (Based in Africa)
Mohamed Abou Treika (Egypt and Ahli)
Most Promising Talent
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
National Team of the Year
Youth National Team of the Year
Nigeria U-17 team
Club of the Year
Ahli (Egypt)
Coach of the Year
Stephen Keshi (Nigeria)
Referee of the Year
Haimoudi Djamel (Algeria)
Fair Play Award
Nigeria Supporters
CAF Legends
Bruno Metsu
Mehdi Faria
Platinum Award
Goodluck Jonathan (President of Nigeria)
Africa's Finest XI
Goalkeeper: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Egypt), Mehdi Benatia (Morocco), Kevin Constant (Guinea)
Midfielders: Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso), John Obi Mikel (Nigeria), Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire), Mohamed Abu Treika (Egypt)
Forwards: Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

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