Vincent Enyeama

Yaya Toure ties Eto’o with fourth African Player of the Year award

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Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure is the first player to win four-straight African Player of the Year awards.

Toure joins Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o as one of only two players to win the award four times total.

The 31-year-old Toure led Manchester City to the Premier League title last season and has helped guide the club to a tie for first-place this season. He scored 24 goals all last season and has 9 so far this year.

[ MORE: PST’s Top 50 transfer targets ]

The World Cup wasn’t especially kind to African teams, and the Ivory Coast was no exception. Toure played 90 minutes in all three of the Elephants’ matches, a win over Japan and losses to Greece and Colombia. The side failed to escape the group stage.

Toure ultimately triumphed over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon) and Vincent Enyeama (Lille/Nigeria), who were the other finalists.

African Footballer of the Year shortlist: Yaya Toure goes for four in a row, MLS player makes it

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Yaya Toure is looking to become the first player to win four-straight African Footballer of the Year awards, as the Manchester City star has been named as one of 25 players on the CAF shortlist.

The Ivory Coast leader held off John Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba and Seydou Keita from 2011-13, and will have to beat a host of players from big name clubs if he wants to join Samuel Eto’o as the only players to have won the award four times.

FIFA reports that South Africa’s Senzo Meyiwa, murdered last month, is on the list of players who can win the award given to those who play solely on the continent.

Crystal Palace has the list, as it announced its Democratic Republic of Congo winger, Yannick Bolasie, is on the list along with AS Roma’s Gervinho, Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony and Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor.

[ RELATED: Both sides of Manchester in injury trouble ]

There’s an MLS player in the mix as well, as Philadelphia Union goalkeeper and Algerian World Cup hero Rais M’Bohli made the list.

Toure is the clear favorite to win the award, though Algeria’s strong World Cup could give a boost to one of its four members on the list: Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon), Yacine Brahimi (Porto), Keita (AS Roma) and M’Bohli.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 8, 2015. Here’s the list in full:

2014 African Footballer of the Year shortlist
Ahmed Musa – (Nigeria, CSKA Moscow)
Asamoah Gyan – (Ghana, Al Ain)
Dame N’doye – (Senegal, Lokomotiv Moscow)
Emmanuel Adebayor – (Togo, Tottenham)
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – (Cameroon, Schalke 04)
Fakhreddine Ben Youssef – (Tunisia, CS Sfaxien)
Ferdjani Sassi – (Tunisia, CS Sfaxien)
Gervinho – (Cote d’Ivoire, AS Roma)
Islam Slimani – (Algeria, Sporting Lisbon)
Kwadwo Asamoah – (Ghana, Juventus)
source: Getty Images

Mehdi Benatia – (Morocco, Bayern Munich)

Mohamed El Neny – (Egypt, Basel)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund)
Raïs M’Bolhi – (Algeria, Philadelphia Union)
Sadio Mané – (Senegal, Southampton)
Seydou Kieta –  (Mali, As Roma)
Sofiane Feghouli – (Algeria, Valencia)
Stephane Mbia – (Cameroon,  Sevilla)
Thulani Serero – (South Africa, Ajax)
Vincent Aboubakar – (Cameroon, Porto)
Vincent Enyeama – (Nigeria, Lille)
Wilfried Bony –  (Cote d’Ivoire, Swansea)
Yacine Brahimi – (Algeria, Porto)

Yannick Bolasie – (DR Congo, Crystal Palace)
Yaya Toure – (Cote d’Ivoire, Man City)

Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama fearful of Ebola at Africa Cup of Nations

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The Ebola virus has caused a scare around the world, and Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has taken notice of the outbreak.

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification will end in November, while the actual tournament will span from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8, and Enyeama, who starts for Nigeria, made it know that he doesn’t support the tournament moving forward when parts of west Africa have been devastated by the disease, with a 5,000 person death total so far.

His fears stem from the fact that hordes of people will crowd into a stadium, making game attendance an easy gateway for the illness to spread, which is a very good point.

“I really wish it doesn’t happen with all the people that will be moving around. It’s risky for everyone because you go to Africa and then everyone is hugging you and shaking you, and what can you do? You’re at risk.”

Ultimately, he knows the Confederation of African Football, CAF, would have to agree on the cancellation.

“But if it happens I will play, if we qualify….I’m not CAF. I’m not the one who calls the shots.”

Lille 0-0 Everton: Toffees stay unbeaten in Group H

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Although a draw is less desirable than a victory, Everton can rest easy with their 0-0 result against Ligue 1 squad Lille, as Roberto Martinez’s side remains unbeaten and at the top of Group H in the Champions League group stage.

Lille had the better start to the match, which was Tim Howard’s first clean sheet in Europa League play this season.

Sebastien Corchia ripped a strike that nicked Phil Jagielka in the early stages, and midfielder Florent Balmont strove for a dangerous cross, but Simon Kjaer and Marko Basa couldn’t convert the endeavor.

In the end, both squads didn’t find a great deal of scoring chances, though they had a couple excellent opportunities each. Nineteen-year-old Divock Origi, actually on lean from Liverpool, zipped a shot from outside the box to nearly break the scoreline for the Great Danes.

Then, about ten minuets later in the 65th minute, Romelu Lukaku put Aiden McGeady through, and a one-on-one encounter with goalie Vincent Enyeama failed, as the Nigerian netminder managed to tip away the quickly-tapped effort before it was cleared.

Former Barcelona forward Samuel Eto’o utilized smart combination play with Steven Pienaar, and then couldn’t corral the ball to threaten Lille in front of the net.

Ronny Rodelin missed what would have been a highlight reel goal, and Idrissa Gueye whipped around and sent his try inches away from the iron.

Everton lead Wolfsburg by a point, and Lille sit in the group’s third spot, boasting three points.

What they said post-game (BBC Sport)

Everton boss Roberto Martinez: “I was pleased in terms of players [six changes] coming in and performing to a high standard, but I think the pitch didn’t help either side – I think with a better pitch, we would have seen a lot more brilliant attacking football from both. I think all-in-all a draw was a fair result.”

Lille manager René Girard: “We are satisfied to have been able to compete with Everton. Once again we lacked a goal to get a win, but I was really satisfied with the football we produced.”

Thursday’s Europa League preview: Spurs go Greek, Everton faces Lille

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Like the UEFA Champions League, the Europa League group stage reaches its midpoint this week.

The pair of Premier League clubs remaining in the competition face quite different tests on Thursday.

[ MORE: Wenger risked and succeeded in Belgium ]

Let’s dig into the big name matches.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Asteras Tripolis
Spurs head to Greece to face a club that beat Partizan Belgrade at home 2-0 and drew Besiktas in Turkey. This is by no means an easy match as Spurs hope to hit the turn in first place.

Lille vs. Everton
The Toffees thumped Bundesliga’s Wolfsburg and drew Krasnodar on the road. A visit to Lille is somewhere in between those two, and no sure thing. The Great Danes boast Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama, Liverpool loanee Divock Origi and Man City loanee Marcos Lopes.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Apollon Limassol
USMNT defender Fabian Johnson’s Bundesliga club will be in big Europa trouble if they can’t get three points against their Cypriot visitors. That said, a Limassol win would be a pretty big upset.

Celtic vs. Astra Giurgiu
The Bhoys managed to get to the “easy” game of the group on top, beating Dinamo Zagreb and drawing 2-2 at Red Bull Salzburg.

Villarreal vs. FC Zurich
Aalbork BK vs. Dynamo Kiev
Steaua Bucharest vs. Rio Ave
Dinamo Minsk vs. Guingamp
PAOK Salonika vs. Fiorentina
Trabzonspor vs. KSC Lokeren
Club Brugge vs. FC Copenhagen
Torino vs. HJK Helsinki
Partizan Belgrade vs. Besiktas
FC Red Bull Salzburg vs. Dinamo Zagreb
Estoril Praia vs. Dinamo Moscow
PSV Eindhoven vs. Panathinaikos
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk vs. FK Qarabag
Inter Milan vs. St. Etienne
HNK Rijeka vs. Feyenoord
Standard Liege vs. Sevilla
FK Krasnodar vs. VfL Wolfsburg
BSC Young Boys vs. Napoli
Slovan Bratislava vs. Sparta Prague