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01.03.2009 Sports News

Aboutrika receives BBC award


Mohamed Aboutrika was presented with the BBC African Footballer of the Year award at a special ceremony in Cairo on Saturday.

The Al Ahly striker was a clear winner of the award after a public vote.

He received the prestigious trophy from Egyptian legend Mahmoud El Khatib in front of an audience of invited guests.

"I'm very happy today with this BBC award, and I want to thank the fans for choosing me," said Aboutrika, the heartbeat of both Al Ahly and Egypt.

"It's very nice when the fans choose you because we play football to win and make them happy.

"This trophy represents my efforts for the whole of last year and I want to thank the BBC for honouring me."

The award is, indeed, recognition for a magnificent year for the 30-year-old Egyptian star.

He helped his country to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana and his club to take the African Champions League for a record sixth time.

"Aboutrika has a special gift from God and he has a special effect on his club and country," said El Khatib, the man who brought Aboutrika to Al Ahly five years ago.

El Khatib added: "Whenever he plays, he inspires his team-mates and I believe he still has many years in front of him to become an even better player."

Aboutrika beat 2007 winner Emmanuel Adebayor, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and Amr Zaki to win the BBC award.

He is the second Egyptian to win the award - his club and international colleague Mohamed Barakat took the honours in 2005.