Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yaya Toure Confirms His Status as the Colossus of African Soccer

Today, 02/08/2015 in Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast defeated Ghana 9-8 to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Soccer competition. This intensively hard-fourth and spellbinding game was decided through penalty kicks after the 90 minutes of regular play time, 3 injury-time additional minutes and two extra 15 minutes of play, ended goalless. This game was world-class soccer at its best, and given the quality of play displayed by these two rugged teams, either side would have deservedly earned this most coveted trophy in African soccer.

For the Ivorian team, this victory represented a double confirmation of team captain Yaya Toure’s standing as Africa's Best Player of the Year. Mid-fielder Yaya Toure of Manchester City's fame, decisively shepherded the Ivorian side. Toure has been voted in four successive years (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) as Africa's Best Player of the Year by coaches and technical directors of the 54 member countries of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). In the most recent case, he beat out rivals Vincent Enyeama of Nigeria and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon.

Yaya Toure, 31 years of age, scored 20 goals in 35 Premier League appearances for Manchester City in the 2013-14 campaign which City won--a second title in three seasons. He was one of the scorers of the penalty kicks that today 02/08/2015 won his country of Ivory Coast the golden trophy of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations soccer contest.

A word must be said about the excellent officiating that characterized today's final of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The referee distinguished himself as a seasoned, transparently fair and impartial adjudicator of a sporting event. Much unlike what I have seen in a number of high-profile international soccer games of our time, this referee allowed soccer a relatively smooth-flowing pace without questionable and distracting calls. All too often in soccer games, one encounters yellow and red-carding situations that effectively change not only the dynamics of a game but also consequently impact upon the outcome. To some extent, a notable few of the 2014 World Cup soccer games in Brazil were especially tainted by questionable officiating.

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations was the 30th edition of the competition, which is organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Please, join me in extending hearty congratulations to Ivory Coast (officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire) and to the super-excellent officiating crew of today's Africa Cup of Nations final match!