Africa

Last updated: 27 november, 2009 - 17:06 GMT

Why I'd vote for Yaya Toure

BBC Sport's European football blogger Phil Minshull states the case for Ivory Coast and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure in this year's BBC African Footballer of the Year vote.

The question has to be, would Barcelona have been able to win their unique 'triplete' – the Spanish league and cup double along with the Champions League – without Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure

Possibly, but the feat would have been much, much harder to achieve if Toure had not been at the heart of the Catalan club's midfield with his inexhaustible running, precision-point tackling and creative passing, opening up abundant opportunities for the men in front of him.

His natural position is just in front of the back four but, rather than being a stereotypical 'destroyer' in the mould of many defensive midfielders, Toure has much more finesse to his game.

It was also to him that Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola turned when he needed an emergency central defender for the Champions League final in May, with several of his first choice defenders injured. Toure showed his mental ability by emerging from the test with plaudits being showered upon him.

He has been equally effective for his country in the last 12 months and it's no surprise that The Elephants did little plodding during their World Cup qualifying campaign and quickly booked their tickets for South Africa.

African football fans love their flashy strikers or, at the very least, attacking midfielders full of flair like Nigeria's two-time BBC African Footballer of the Year Jay-Jay Okocha.

However, perhaps it's now time to pay tribute to an understated, and sometimes under-appreciated player, doing vital work at the back.

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