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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
BBC African Footballer of the Year 2012

Nominees:

- Demba BA (Senegal and Newcastle United, ENG)

- Younes BELHANDA (Morocco and Montpellier, FRA)

- Didier DROGBA (Ivory Coast and Shangai Shenhua, CHN)

- Christopher KATONGO (Zambia and Henan Construction, CHN)

- Yaya TOURÉ (Ivory Coast and Manchester City, ENG)


VOTE HERE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20257457





 

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DEMBA BA

Demba Ba has shown tenacity, determination and clinical finishing to force his way back into the reckoning at Newcastle after a difficult spell.
It is, perhaps, those qualities that have most caught the eye and earned him a place on this year's shortlist.

The 27-year-old Senegal striker made a huge impact at Newcastle when he joined from West Ham in June 2011.

He hit 16 goals in his first season to end the campaign as the club's leading scorer - despite suffering a dip in form when he came back from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations - helping Newcastle to finish fifth in the table and earn a play-off spot for the Europe League.

Despite not starting every Premier League game this season, Ba has struck eight goals in his 12 appearances - making him the club's highest scorer and the second-highest scorer in the division.

Ba, who was born in France, made his debut for the Teranga Lions against Tanzania back in June 2007 and has scored four times in 16 appearances.

He is part of a wealth of attacking talent at Senegal's disposal, competing for a starting place with his club-mate Papiss Cisse, Moussa Sow and Dame N'Doye and Moussa Konate.

But Ba and his team-mates will not be at next year's Nations Cup in South Africa after Senegal were disqualified because of crowd trouble at their final-round qualifier against Ivory Coast.

Instead, Ba will be looking to fire Newcastle up the table at a crucial time of the season.​
 

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YOUNES BELHANDA

When the legendary Zinedine Zidane is praising your talents, you know that you're doing something right as a footballer - and young Younes Belhanda has certainly enjoyed a year to remember.

The 22-year-old was one of the key players in Montpellier's French Ligue 1 title success last season, the first for the club in nearly a century of existence.

Playing in an advanced role behind striker Olivier Giroud, the stocky Moroccan scored 12 goals in 26 games - seven of which came in the run-in to the title after his return from January's Africa Cup of Nations.

Blessed with good technique, excellent vision and a fine shot, Belhanda was one of Morocco's stand-out players during the 2012 Nations Cup - impressing with his all-round game, while scoring the winner against Niger and setting up another against Gabon.

But it was his starring role in Montpellier's maiden title that catapulted him into the limelight and his performances earned him a place in Ligue 1's Team of the Year as well as its Young Player award.

The latter honour has previously been bestowed upon the likes of Eden Hazard, Franck Ribery, Thierry Henry and Zidane himself, so Belhanda is in esteemed company.

Montpellier have struggled to retain their form this season but the former French youth international is holding his game together - scoring four goals from 10 league games - and two goals in four Champions League games as he savours the top table of European football for the first time.​
 

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DIDIER DROGBA

In May, Didier Drogba bowed out after eight seasons at Chelsea with a man-of-the-match performance in the European Champions League final.

Drogba, having been sent off in the final four years earlier, converted the winning penalty as the English club were crowned continental champions for the first time in their history.

The 34-year-old left an indelible mark on English football, before embarking on a brand new adventure by signing for Chinese Super League club, Shanghai Shenhua.

Ivory Coast's superstar joined Shenhua for a reported £200,000 a week, and settled swiftly, scoring eight goals in 11 league games.

Drogba's euphoric finale in Munich was in stark contrast to the heart-break endured a few months earlier, when playing for his national side at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Elephants' skipper had led his talented team to the final for the second time. As with the Nations Cup final against Egypt six years earlier, penalties would decide the outcome.
On this occasion, it was the underdogs of Zambia who shattered Drogba's dream.

During his time with Chelsea, Drogba scored more than 150 goals in almost 350 appearances. He won the Premier League title three times, the FA Cup four times and the League Cup twice.

In October, the Chelsea supporters voted him the club's greatest player.
A previous recipient of the BBC African Footballer of the Year, in 2009, Drogba was a late developer but has wasted little time in becoming one of Africa's greatest exports.​
 

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CHRISTOPHER KATONGO


The last 10 years have been a rollercoaster ride for Zambia's 2012 Africa Cup of Nations-winning captain Christopher Katongo.

Katongo initially made his name at Zambian club Green Buffaloes between 2003 and 2004.
One of his lesser known feats at Buffaloes saw him score four goals in one game at the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Confederation Cup in 5-0 and 6-1 wins over Saint Michel of the Seychelles and DR Congo side DC Motema Pembe respectively.

However, unlike most of his Zambia team-mates who rose from Under-17 and 20 level, Katongo was a late bloomer and his path to Chipolopolo stardom began at Under-23 level.

Katongo was part of the 2003 All-Africa Games team that finished fourth in Abuja, scoring just one goal at the tournament and another in the qualifiers.

He made his Africa Cup debut in Egypt in 2006 where Zambia exited at the group stage but not before scoring the lone goal in Chipolopolo's 1-0 win over South Africa.

A year later, he famously scored a hat-trick against South Africa in a 3-1 away win in Cape Town to help Zambia secure qualification to the 2008 Nations Cup.

Meanwhile, his club career has taken him from Jomo Cosmos in South Africa where he played from 2004 to 2007.

His first stop in Europe was at Brondby in Denmark in 2007 and later transferred to German side Arminia Bielefeld in 2008.

In 2010, left Germany for Greece where he spent one year at Skoda Xanthi and later moved to China in 2011 to sign with his current club Henan Construction.
 

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YAYA TOURÉ

Having helped Manchester City win their first trophy in 35 years by scoring the only goal in the 2011 FA Cup final at Wembley, Yaya Toure was then outstanding the following season as City were crowned Premier League champions for the first time.

The powerful Ivory Coast midfielder was instrumental in City's success as the club ended their 44-year wait for a league championship title.

Toure's stellar performances, which combined his trademark driving runs, speed and immense physical attributes, enabled City to dominate the midfield and sweep all before them.

And when the Sky Blues stuttered in the title run-in, Toure was magnificent as City beat their biggest rivals Manchester United and then scored twice against Newcastle in the penultimate match of the season to put his side top of the table on goal difference - the margin by which they would clinch the title.

The league winners' medal was the latest haul of silverware for the 29-year-old, adding to the European Champions League, European Super Cup, Fifa Club World Cup, two Spanish league titles and Copa del Rey medal he won with Barcelona, and the Greek league title he earned with Olympiakos.

Toure, who won the Confederation of African Football's 2011 African Player of the Year award, has started this season in strong style.

He scored in City's Community Shield victory over Chelsea and has hit another four goals in the Premier League.

In January he will begin his quest with Ivory Coast to win the Africa Cup of Nations and try to cap what has already been a glittering career.​
 

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Drogba no doubt, being decisive in the most important trophy.
 

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I voted for Belhanda

I think Drogba will probably get it
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Katongo named 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year

Christopher Katongo has won the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year award.

The 30-year-old Zambia captain beat off competition from Demba Ba, Didier Drogba, Younes Belhanda and Yaya Toure to become the first winner from southern Africa in the history of the award.

Katongo told BBC Sport: "This is a fantastic moment for me. I thank the people who voted for me. It is something I will never forget in my career.

"This means a lot for the young people and the young players who look up to me. I could not have achieved this without the support of my team-mates."

The shortlist for the award was drawn up by football experts from every country in Africa, who based their choices on players' skill, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play.

And a record number of people nominated their favourite online or by text message with just over 40% of the votes going to Katongo, who plays his club football in China for Henan Construction.

While all the players on the shortlist have enjoyed a superb year, with four of the players picking up silverware, it is Katongo whose performances and achievements have been considered by African football fans to be the greatest.

"I think the things that they (the fans) like about me is my discipline and that I am the kind of player who can fail one day but pull up his socks and keep going. I think that is why they voted for me," added Katongo.

"To be among the top players who have won this award, I will go to sleep with a smile on my face.

"I did my best and the people have spoken. That's the beauty of this award."

Katongo, who is also a soldier in his home country, was inspirational as he led Zambia to their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February.

He scored three goals en route to the final of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and then struck a successful penalty in an 8-7 shoot-out victory over favourites Ivory Coast to lift the trophy in Libreville.

It was an emotional moment for Zambia, who had suffered a tragic air disaster 19 years previously, when a plane carrying most of the national team crashed when only 500m offshore from Libreville, killing all 25 passengers and five crew.

Seven months after leading Zambia to glory Katongo was again his country's talisman, this time in a 2013 Nations Cup qualifying tie when he scored the only goal of the game in his side's final-round first leg match against Uganda.

And it proved to be a vital strike as Chipolopolo lost the return leg 1-0 but made it through to next year's tournament in South Africa by winning 9-8 in another penalty shoot-out.

In between those Nations Cup heroics, Katongo also provided the spark that lifted Zambia out of a difficult phase in their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

Zambia suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Sudan in Khartoum in June - a result that remains in doubt while Sudan are being investigated for allegedly fielding an ineligible player - and they desperately needed a result against Ghana a week later.

Yet again it was Katongo who stepped up and scored the winner, putting his side's campaign back on track.

And if Katongo can continue the form that has helped his country to new heights, as well as earning him individual recognition, he may well propel Zambia to the biggest stage of all in Brazil in 18 months' time.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20753961
 

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:howler:

In other news, Brøndby are in trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's nice to see Katongo grabbing it. Zambia's win was one of those football folk tales that will always stay in history.
 
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