Essien presented with award

13 years ago

Ghana international, Michael Essien was on Monday presented with his 2006 BBC African Footballer of the Year Award.

Essien won the award in January in a vote cast by listeners of the BBC World Service's African sports programme Fast Track.

The 25-year-old midfielder thus becomes the second Ghana recipient of the award after Samuel Osei Kuffour.

Michael Essien was joined by other Ghana internationals including Abedi Ayew Pele, Nii Odartey Lamptey and a host of sporting personalities to savour the moment.

An elated Essien said: "I can't express how happy I am today to receive this coveted award."

"I am very delighted to have won the award because it is a total recognition from fans across Africa.

"I want to thank my family and fans for voting for me and I want to assure them that my best is yet to come.

Abedi Pele praised Essien: "He is a great player and for both club and country, he truly deserves this award."

"This award really means a lot to African footballers and we thank the BBC for instituting it."

Other Africa players to have picked up the award are the immediate winner for 2005 Egypt’s Mohammed Barakat, El Hadji Diouf of Senegal and Nigeria's Jay Jay Okocha, who won the award twice.

In a live public vote in January, Essien received nearly twice as many votes as Ahly and Egypt playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba.

For the first time in the history of the prize, the winner was decided live during the BBC World Service's flagship African sports programme Fast Track.

The BBC award took into account the football calendar from January to December 2006 and includes domestic leagues, continental club competitions and international matches.