Michael Essien wins BBC African Footballer 2006

Ghanaian football star, Michael Essien has won the BBC’s prestigious African Footballer of the Year award organised by the bbc.co.uk/africanfootball website and the BBC World Service African sports programme Fast Track. Over 12,000 listeners participated in the final vote during the Fast Track programme. The midfielder, who plays for the English Premier League club, Chelsea, was the overwhelming winner, with 66% of the vote, ahead of Mohammed Aboutrika of Egyptian club side El Ahly in second place. Essien’s Chelsea colleague Didier Drogba, captain of Ivory Coast, came third.

The result was broadcast live on the BBC Africa sports programme, Fast Track, presented by Piers Edwards, at 17.00 GMT today, 5 January.

Previous winners of the BBC African Footballer of the Year include Senegal’s El-Hadji Diouf, Egypt’s Mohamed Barakat, Sammy Kuffour of Ghana and Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha who won the award twice, in 2003 and 2004.

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Name: Lala Najafova