Mohamed Aboutrika is named BBC African Footballer of the year 2008

17 January 2009 at 01:08 | 3293 views

‘Being up there amongst the elite of Africa’s top football stars is an honour’ says Aboutrika.

By an overwhelming majority, football fans have voted Egyptian footballer, Mohamed Aboutrika, the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2008. The competition received a record 155,643 votes - twice as many compared to last year. The Al-Ahly player received more than half the total number.

Aboutrika beat Samuel Eto’o of Barcelona and Cameroon; Didier Drogba of Chelsea and the Ivory Coast; Amr Zaki of Wigan Athletic and Egypt; and last year’s winner, Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal and Togo.

The result of the vote was broadcast live today by presenter, Farayi Mungazi, on the BBC’s premier African sports programme, Fast Track. Talking to the programme, Mohamed Aboutrika said:

"It’s an honour for both Egyptian football and my club, Al Ahly. I am very happy to be the winner of this year’s edition of the BBC African Footballer of the Year award. Being up there amongst the elite of Africa’s top football stars is an honour - winning this award was something I didn’t expect.

“This award will certainly put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders with more expectations of my footballing performance! 2008 was a tremendous year. It started in the best possible way when we were crowned champions of Africa for the sixth time and ended with a victorious African Champions League season, which I believe we rightly deserved."

Al Ahly Coach, Manuel Jose, said: "Aboutrika is a key player. What other players can’t do, he can do. He is a fantastic player and a fantastic person. I agree with this award because for me he is the best player playing in Africa, for the last five years, every year he is the best."

Fans have been voting since 1 December 2008 via the dedicated website and SMS. Voters picked from a short-list of players drawn up by football experts from every country in Africa, who judged each player on their individuality, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play.

Other previous BBC African Footballer of the Year winners include Egypt’s Mohamed Barakat (2005), Senegal’s El-Hadji Diouf (2002), Ghana’s Sammy Kuffour (2001) and Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha (2003, 2004).

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