Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang narrowly beat Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure to win the Confederation of African Football’s player of the year award.
In a vote of coaches and technical directors of Caf member nations, Aubameyang earned 143 points, with Manchester City midfielder Toure, 32, the runner-up with 136 points.
Aubameyang, 26, is the first player from his country to win the award.
Ghana and Swansea midfielder Andre Ayew, 26, was third with 112 points.
Aubameyang is the Bundesliga’s leading scorer so far this season, with 18 goals in 17 league games.
The Gabonese star made a traditional acceptance speech, thanking his family, team mates and the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, a notable football fan.
The President returned the compliment, in a statement which hailed Aubameyang as key to his country’s hopes when they host the next Africa Cup of Nations in 2017, describing him as an “exceptional Gabonese [who has] demonstrated dazzling intuition and an attack of unparalleled velocity.”
Gabon were eliminated in the first round of the 2015 Nations Cup and Aubameyang’s success has been based his stellar performances for Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
‘I’m quite disappointed’
Yaya Toure had been named African footballer of the year by Caf for the last four years and was recently crowned by the fans as the BBC African footballer of the year for 2015.
He lifted the Nations Cup trophy in February last year as Ivory Coast took the African crown for the first time in more than 20 years.
“I’m quite disappointed, but I don’t want to complain too much,” Toure said after the announcement.
“I just want to give credit to Aubameyang – you’ve been doing brilliantly well this year.”
Herve Renard, who managed Ivory Coast to their Africa Cup of Nations victory, won the coach of the year award.
The Frenchman, who led Zambia to victory in the tournament in 2012, is the first person to coach two different countries to the title.
Mbwana Aly Samatta, the Tanzanian star who helped his club side TP Mazembe to the African Champions League title, was crowned African-based player of the year.
Mazembe were named club of the year, having also represented Africa at the Club World Cup, while Ivory Coast and Cameroon were respectively named men’s and women’s national team of the year.
Gaelle Enganamouit of Cameroon was named women’s player of the year. She starred as the Indomitable Lionesses reached the second round of the Women’s World Cup, having qualified for the tournament for the first time in their history.