While there was a lot of news to be had over the last few days, this time of year also heralds in the winners of 2015’s POTY awards for various leagues and countries. Despite being dominated for the last four years by the same player, the African POTY for 2015 has changed hands to part of the future generation of superstars from the great continent: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. An astounding goal haul in 2015 and the likelihood of continuing to be one of the greatest players in front of goal during 2016, Aubameyang’s star is definitely on the rise.
Despite the big news certainly being the awarding of the POTY to Aubameyang, the most interesting side to the story might be the reaction of African football legend and the winner of the last four African POTY awards – Yaya Toure. With a very impressive 2015 that included lifting the African Cup of Nations trophy for the Ivory Coast, Toure missed out on his fifth consecutive award by only seven total votes. However, it wasn’t how close the vote was that is raising eyebrows, but rather the strong midfielder’s reaction that is snagging attention.
Instead of being happy for the winner, Toure (despite having won four times in a row) has claimed that not having his name on the 2015 award “brings shame to Africa.” While I imagine that a footballing award has little chance of ever bringing actual “shame” to an entire continent, it leaves some to wonder if Toure is aware of where his game has taken him during 2015. Toure is still very important to City, but for every stalwart performance we see from the Ivorian, we see a lackluster outing complete with a visible sense of laziness and don’t-care attitude.
Toure’s comments didn’t stop there as he blasted Africa for their decision, but let’s just break it down. Both of Toure’s teams (City and Ivory Coast) are chocked full of superstars that surround Toure and allow him to play his style and be successful. Aubameyang is on a club where the stars depart sooner rather than later, one of their most successful managers left, and TOURE WON IT FOUR TIMES BEFORE THIS. Within these two worlds, only Toure brought home silverware (AFCON), but Aubameyang set records, scored over 40 goals, and has become one of Europe’s hottest new commodities.
As someone who has been a fan of Toure for years (before he was even with City), his accomplishments are vast and deserve to be celebrated. However, if it was ever time to pass the torch, it was definitely to Aubameyang and the year that the striker had. Yaya can whine all he wants, but this is starting to feel like a player that knows that he is slowly losing his best days. Would I still want him in my club? Of course, but this tirade borders on the ridiculous.
Big congrats to Aubameyang on what will probably be the first of many awards. Let’s hope that, if he wins four in a row, he has the grace to step aside when it is someone else’s time to bring home the accolades.