The African soccer federation handed out its annual African Player of the Year award yesterday, rewarding Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a spectacular season. For most, this was a positive moment to celebrate Auba and all of African soccer for their players’ contributions to the game. For Yaya Touré, the award’s salty runner-up, this was something else.
The Manchester City midfielder, who was in the running to win the award for the fifth consecutive year, was unreasonably bothered by his loss. So much so that in an interview with RFI, he went on a wide-ranging rant, decrying Africa’s lack of respect for African achievements, and his “disappointment” about the “indecency” of it all. From Sport Witness:
“I’m very, very disappointed. It’s sad to see Africa react this way, that they don’t think African achievements are important.”
He continued: “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 favour more what’s abroad than our own continent. That is pathetic.”
The “African achievements” bit is directed at the fact that he led Ivory Coast to victory in the African Cup of Nations last year, finally capturing the trophy that has long eluded him and his super-talented Ivorians. In the same way that many believe the Ballon d’Or should go to the best player on the World Cup-winning team when that tournament is held, Touré seems to think his victory in the Cup of Nations should’ve cemented the Player of the Year award.
Nevermind that Touré’s 2015 was a step down from his prior few seasons, when you could’ve made the case that he was the best central midfielder doing it, and that Aubameyang’s transition from really good player into a truly great one (he scored 27 goals in 27 games for BVB in 2015) makes him a perfectly deserving winner. No, to Touré, this is a scandal: “Even FIFA, with all its history of corruption, wouldn’t do [what CAF judges did].”
While the midfielder did compliment Aubameyang for “doing brilliantly well this year,” Touré remained more preoccupied about what his failure to win the award said about those and charge, and how he’s learned an important lesson from all this. As is common with such self-involved speech, he wrapped up his comments by speaking about himself in the third person:
“Yaya will take care of Yaya and let Africa take care of itself. 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.”
I’m not sure it’s all that serious, Yaya. There’s always next year.
Photo via Getty