Kanoute named Africa’s best

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The Mali and Sevilla striker beat off competition from Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast and Chelsea) and Michael Essien (Ghana and Chelsea) to become the first European-born player to claim the award.

The 30-yeard-old was born in Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon, France, and began his career with hometown club Olympique Lyon. He played for France’s Under-21 side, before switching his allegiances to Mali, the country of his father’s birth, in 2004.

He has made a habit of scoring in cup finals with Sevilla, netting in all of their five triumphs in recent years.

He scored in the Uefa Cup final wins against Middlesbrough in 2006 and Espanyol in 2007, as well as the 3-0 victory over Barcelona in the European Super Cup at the start of last season.

He then netted the winner as Sevilla beat Getafe 1-0 to win the King's Cup Final last June, and got a brilliant hat-trick against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in a 6-3 aggregate victory in the Spanish Super Cup at the start of this season.

The award also makes a mockery of Fifa’s process of selecting their World Player of the Year as Kanoute was not even considered by the Fifa panel as being in the world’s top 50 players in 2007.

Other awards given in Lome went to the Ivory Coast as the African Team of the Year, while CAF Champions League winners Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia won Club of the Year. Etoile striker Armine Chermiti was named the Best African Club Competition Player and Zambian Clifford Mulenga claimed Young African Player of the Year.

The African Footballer of the Year award is voted for by the national coaches of the 53 CAF associations.

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