By Shina Oludare
As the 22nd edition of the CAF awards gala held at the plush Eko Convention Centre, Lagos, draws to a close, Goal gives a numerical account of the awards’s facts and records.
1- The number of times Chad have produced a candidate for the African Footballer of the Year award. In 1996, Japhet N’Doram became the first player from the Central African country to make the top three shortlist of the award. He eventually finished as runner-up to eventual winner Victor Ikpeba.
2- Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon) and Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire) are the only players to have won the African Footballer of the Year award three times in a row. Eto'o was Africa's best between 2003-2005 while Yaya reigned from 2011-2013.
3- Number of times the award has produced back to back winners. El Hadji Diouf of Senegal [2001-2002], Samuel Eto’o [2003-2005] and Yaya Toure [2011-2013].
4- Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon (pictured) holds the record as the player with the highest number of wins. The Cameroonian forward first won it in 2003 when he took Austin Okocha [Nigeria] and Didier Drogba [Cote d’Ivoire] to the cleaners, before repeating same feat in 2004, 2005 and 2010.
5- This number represents the most number of consecutive nominations in the top three without a win. Michael Essien of Ghana holds this record. The Chelsea ace was first nominated in 2005 where he bowed to the duo of Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba. In his second attempt the following year, he was unable to get the better of Eto’o and Drogba. 2007 provided him the best opportunity to win the coveted award but narrowly lost to Frederic Kanoute of Mali. He also lost out in the 2008 and 2009 editions.
7- Since the Confederation of African Football took charge of this award, the English Premiership has produced most winners of the award. Arsenal FC was the first English side to achieve this feat when Kanu Nwankwo was crowned in 1999 and Emmanuel Adebayor  while Liverpool followed the Gunners’ footstep through El Hadji Diouf  before Chelsea turned out Didier Drogba [2006, 2009] then Manchester City through Yaya Toure [2011, 2012, 2013].
9- Didier Drogba of Cote d’Ivoire holds the record for the most number of nominations for this award. In the past 10 editions [including the 2013 edition], he has made the top three shortlist nine times, winning it twice and finishing as runner up and third place on three occasions.
Aside from this, nine countries have produced winners of the past 20 editions. These countries include Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Senegal, Mali and Morocco.
11- Numbers of countries that produced the top three shortlists of this award since inception in 1992. They include: Nigeria, Chad, Ghana, Morocco, Liberia, Senegal, Mali, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Cameroon
13- Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire boast of the most number of representatives in the top three shortlist of the African Footballer of the Year award. In these numbers of record appearances in the top three nominations, Nigeria have five winners same as their French-speaking West African neigbours.
14- Number of players to have been decorated since 1992 and continue to remain amongst the foremost African ambassadors of the world’s most popular sport.
20- Number of years the CAF African Footballer of the Year award has been in existence. It is worthy to note that the African continent took over from the France Football Award, which was the predecessor of this honour since 1970.
Slightly away from this, it is worth noting that on February 2, 2008 Frederic Kanoute of Mali went into the history books of African football as the first European-born player to win the award.
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