ABUJA, January 8 – Star Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rejected English Premier League overtures as he celebrated winning the African player of the year award.
The Gabonese, who is the leading Bundesliga scorer this season, was reduced to tears after stopping Yaya Toure getting a fifth straight title on Thursday night.
“I am staying at Dortmund,” the 26-year-old Aubameyang, who has been linked with an $85 million move to Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, said after accepting the prize at a gala in Abuja.
“I am so happy. I am not someone who usually cries but it is quite an emotional moment.
“When you are standing alongside players like Yaya Toure or Andre Ayew there is pride in winning such a trophy ahead of them because they are great players and I obviously admire them a lot.”
The first player from Gabon to win the title said he hope to get a second award next year with his rich run of form.
“I will really have to work a lot. Obviously I think I have the skills and the talent to make it again next year but it will require lots of work and many sacrifices as well.”
Aubameyang, who has scored 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga games this season, earned 143 points in a poll of African coaches, seven more than Manchester City’s Toure. Ghana and Swansea City striker Andre Ayew was third on 112 points.
“I am disappointed but that won’t take anything from anybody,” said Toure, the Ivory Coast captain. “I am sure Andre is also disappointed after what he did last year.
“This is not the time to complain. We will all go back and continue to work hard.”
Aubameyang dedicated his title to his country and Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba was among the first to congratulate him.
“His genius is a major asset for the Panthers in preparation for the next African Cup of Nations,” said Bongo. Gabon will host the next next African championship in 2017.
“We have good players and a good national team in Gabon,” declared Aubameyang.
Frenchman Herve Renard, who led the Ivory Coast to the 2015 African Cup of Nations, was named Coach of the Year.
This was his second such award after the 47-year-old also led Zambia to upset favourites Ivory Coast to lift a first-ever Nations Cup trophy in 2012.
“You never win alone so I would like to congratulate my staff,” said Renard.
“I would like to congratulate the Ivory Coast Federation because they believed in me and I dedicate this trophy to all the people around the world from Ivory Coast because it was an amazing victory for us, after 23 years they were waiting this trophy.”
Compatriot Bruno Metsu has also clinched two Coach of the Year Awards when he was in charge of Senegal in 2001 and 2002.
Ivory Coast were named Team of the Year.
Other award winners included Cameroon’s Gaell Enganamouit (Women’s Player of the Year), TP Mazembe (Club of the Year), Nigeria Under-23 midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo (Most Promising Talent) and Nigeria’s Under-17 star Victor Osimhen (Youth Player of the Year).
Charles Kumi Gyamfi (Ghana) and Samuel Mbappe Leppe (Cameroon) were recognised as African Legends.