"King' Emmanuel Adebayor The lanky Togo and Arsenals of England striker, Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor was the toast of his mother, Alice Emiola Adebayor when he was crowned the African Best Footballer for 2008 at the Glo-CAF Awards ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria on Tuesday.
Alice Adebayor jumped to her feet when it was announced that her 25-year-old son was winner of the coveted prize.
Adebayor beat Mohammed Aboutrika of Egypt and Michael Essien of Ghana to win the award. It was Essien's third successive nomination for the top football award.
Adebayor made it double for the night, as he was on the list of African Finest Eleven.
He had earlier clinched the BBC African Footballer of the Year.
The son of Nigerian emigrants, the gangling captain of the Togo national team was joined by other relatives including his junior brother Rotimi Adebayor who plays for Metz in Switzerland in celebrating the victory.
Adebayor joined Arsenals from French club AS Monaco where had been banging in goals like no man's business.
He scored 24 goals in 36 matches at the close of the last soccer season and was instrumental in the success story of the Togo national team, the Hawks, helping them to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, under the tutelage of former Nigerian captain Stephen Keshi.
The excited African football king, in expressing his joy, dedicated the award to no other person than his mum, whom he said has been the inspiration behind his success.
"My mother has been behind me all these years and I'm very grateful to her for all that she has done in my life.
"Though my father is not alive, I'm sure he would be proud of me wherever he is at the moment", the glorious player said.
He was optimistic that South Africa will make Africa proud in hosting next year's mundial.
The player said everybody should lend support to South Africa to stage a successful world cup. "This is the time to prove our can do spirit.
"We have to demonstrate to the world that we are capable of doing whatever we want to do".
The footballer lost his father three years ago, according to Alice Adebayor.
Mrs Adebayor is a multilingual Nigerian emigrant having stayed in Oda Kusi in the Eastern region of Ghana before moving to Lome in Togo where she gave birth to Emmanuel.
“I'm happy for my son's achievements”, she said.
On hand to witness the colourful event sponsored by Nigerian telecom giant Globacom, were Sepp Blatter, President of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), Issa Hayatou, President of CAF and Michel Platini, President of European Football Federation (EUFA) among other dignitaries including FA bosses across the continent who were in the Nigerian commercial capital for the CAF congress.
Even though Adebayor's closest rival, Egyptian Mohammed Aboutrika could not win the ultimate prize, he consoled himself with the Inter Club Player of the Year.
He won the Nations Cup with the Pharaohs of Egypt last year in Ghana and followed that up by helping Al Ahly to clinch the CAF Champions League for a record sixth time.
Coach Hassan Shehata of the Pharaohs won the Coach of the Year Award, while the Egyptian national team beat the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Indomitable Lions of Cameroun to win the Best National Team award for 2008.
Aboutrika was also on the list of recipients for the African Finest Eleven award. Two Nigerians, Taye Taiwo and Joseph Yobo were equally on the list, just like Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and John Mensah of Ghana's Black Stars.
The Young Player award was won by Salomon Kalou of Cote d'Ivoire and Chelsea, Woman of the Year Award by Alice Matlou of South Africa while the Fair Play Award of the year was won by the National team of Cote d'Ivoire.
The African Legend Award of 2008 was won by Christian Chukwu of Nigeria, just as the Nigeria Football Supporters Club came tops ahead of those of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana for the National Supporters Club of the year award.
Supporters of Al Ahly of Egypt won the Supporters Club of the Year Award, while Cote d'Ivoire took home the Fair Play Award.
The Most Prestigious Award was conferred on Nigerian President, Umar Yar' Adua for his contributions to the development of sports in the country.
Three football administrators; Farrar Addo of Somalia, Roger Ouegnin of Cote D'Ivoire and Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo of Nigeria were given Order of the Merit Award by CAF.
By Fortune Alimi