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Yaya Toure wins third African Player of the Year award

Photo: Manchester City FC/AP

Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure who his third Africa Player of the Year award.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was named African player of the year for a third straight time on Thursday.

He beat out fellow Ivorian Didier Drogba, the Galatasaray striker and two-time recipient, and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel of Nigeria.

''To be the winner today is unbelievable,'' the 30-year-old Toure said. ''I am very happy and very, very proud.''

Toure was instrumental in helping Ivory Coast qualify for its third straight World Cup finals in Brazil, scoring four goals in the six qualifiers he played.

He is also a driving force at the heart of Manchester City's midfield.

In October, Toure joined a U.N. campaign against poaching, warning the slaughter of elephants threatens their very existence in Africa.

Nigeria swept all the other major 2013 honors at a gala in Lagos, the country's seaside commercial capital.

Stephen Keshi was named coach of the year after reviving the fortunes of the national team and leading the Super Eagles to their first African Cup win in 20 years.

Keshi was captain of the Nigerian team that last won the African Cup of Nations in 1994.

The Super Eagles won the team of the year award, and the under-17 Golden Eaglets took away the trophy for the youth team.

Even Nigerian supporters were honored, winning the award for fair play.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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