After a record number of votes were submitted from fans in 207 countries, Porto’s Algerian winger Yacine Brahimi won the 2014 edition of BBC African footballer of the year ahead of Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama, Gabon’s Pierrre-Emerick Aubameyang, Cote d’Ivoire duo Gervinho and Yaya Toure.
Brahimi impressed for Algeria at the world cup, scored in the group stage against South Korea, and was the teams henchman as Algeria reached the last 16 for the first time.
Since the world cup, Algeria national team has continued to improve and now placed top among African teams on FIFA World Rankings. Brahimi has been the fore runner in his country’s conquest.
The 24 year old had started the year at Spanish La liga club Granada, where his outstanding performance earned him a move to Porto. Brahimi has scored 6 goals in 15 appearances for the Portuguese club including a hat trick against Bate in UEFA Champions League.
Brahimi recent spark of form may have overshadowed the outstanding performances of Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who was on top of his game for French Ligue 1 club Lille OSC early this season and the world cup.
Enyeama kept 11 consecutive clean sheets in ligue 1 matches during the first half of 2013/14 season. He achieved 21 shut out more than any other goal keeper in the top five European leagues.
Enyeama led his Nigerian team to the last 16 in the world cup. He was the only African Player listed in FIFA-XI after the first round proceedings. He made a number of key saves in four matches and was named the 4th best goal keeper in the world.
Well, since the voting were done by the public (fans), Brahimi’s recent sparks has put him on the spotlight, and his club Porto is presently on top of Group H table in UEFA champions league and Brahimi’s recent hat trick against Bate may have helped his votes ahead of Enyeama.
Enyeama may not be in superb form for club now and the recent elimination of Nigeria national team in AFCON qualifiers may have counted against him. It may be one of the reasons many Nigeria didn’t participate in the voting.
Well, this was how the story went and Yacine Brahimi was yesterday December1, named BBC's African footballer of the year 2014.
“It’s a big honor for me to receive the wonderful award. I owe it to my country Algeria and to all the fans who voted for me… Then it’s thanks for FC Porto; they allowed me to play in the champions league, to play in big games and to have great performances.” Brahimi told BBC Sport.