Today in history: Essien wins BBC African award

On 5th January, 2006, midfield icon, Michael Essien was voted the 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Footballer of the Year.

The hard tackling and intelligent midfielder polled 66% of the 12, 000 votes ahead of Mohammed Aboutrika, the former Nadi Al Ahly maestro and his former team mate at Chelsea Didier Drogba.

Aboutrika and Drogba polled 30 and four percent of the total votes cast respectively.

Essien success was largely based on his outstanding performance in the 2006 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup held in Germany.

The “Bison” as he is affectionately called due to his strength and powerful style of play, Essien was instrumental in the success of Ghana at the Mundial, ensuring the team’s progress to the second round of the 32-nation tournament.

The midfielder also played pivotal role for Chelsea in the English premiership and the UEFA Champions League and was regarded as one of the club’s best midfielders and indeed, one of the best for the position in the world at the time.

However, he missed out on the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) African Footballer of the Year award to the Malian international, Frederic Kanoute

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