New year, new blog, and a shiny new trophy for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who took home African Player of the Year last Thursday night after his absolutely blinding first half of the Bundesliga season. But you knew all of this already, I'm sure. You don't need an article telling you PEA is God's gift to Earth and sunflowers and daffodils sprout where is feet grace the pitch. You do, however, need to know about the sartorial choices the CAF candidates were laying down at the awards ceremony (via The Guardian). Did you click on that link? Go back and click on that link. Ok. Now on to the awards.
Most Likely to Campaign for Next James Bond Role: Andre Ayew
Ayew might have been everyone's also-ran going in, but he kept it as classy as possible with the white double-breasted suit jacket to pair with black pants and bow tie. Seriously, watch out Idris Elba. This is the type of suit that gets you out of Wales and into the hearts of London-folk. Andre is looking good and feeling good, and he's been good for Ghana for forever to boot, but he is still third place here, so we'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Most Heavily Your Disappointed African Father: Yaya Touré
Oh Yaya. Maybe it was because you won the last four years in a row, which is a nutso feat in its own right. Maybe it's because you felt it all coming to an end. Or maybe you were anticipating an open bar and went loose continental from the very beginning, but the first runner-up looked a bit down from the start. Yaya did us the favor of confirming the sourpuss residing in his soul with his comments in regards to relinquishing his crown (originally made to RFI:
I think this is what brings shame to Africa, because to act in that way is indecent. But what can we do about it? Us Africans, we don't show that Africa is important in our eyes. We favour more what's abroad than our own continent. That is pathetic.
Wow. Yaya almost just made Auba his Ivy League-medical school attending son who is trying to switch majors to songwriting. Of course, Yaya's comments speak to a deeper trend of European football intrinsically meaning more than African football and footballers. From suggestions that the Cup of Nations should be moved to better accommodate European leagues (despite the fact that a summer tournament would be impossible in Africa anywhere except the southernmost regions of the continent due to insufferable playing temperatures and weather) to consistent accusations that African teams are often physically imposing but lack discipline and tactical awareness, African football tends to be devalued on the international scene. Yaya's comments reflect that trend, as his role in leading Ivory Coast to the CAF Cup of Nations championship in addition to his work for Manchester City was trumped by Aubameyang's European goalscoring form (which despite being formidable in 2015, yielded no trophies to Westfalenstadion, in addition to not being able to guide Gabon out of the group stage of the same Cup of Nations Yaya won. No, Ivory Coast and Gabon are not an equal comparison. But compared they still are. And if you want a more in-depth take about Yaya's comments, I highly recommend Kevin Brown's piece for Fusion).
But no matter how permissible Yaya's salt may or may not be, his suit game is unforgivable here. Bonus points for winning Player of the Year four times in a row and negative bonus points for a JC Penney suit with no tie balance out for a second-place finish.
Most Likely to Be a Lethal Diamond Leopard Made of Speed and the Light of 1000 Smiles: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Oh man, oh man. Look at this guy. Dressed for success is an understatement. PEA is dressed for a supernova of happiness, and then he went and got it. A fitted black tux and black bow tie give way to a sequined silver and black leopard print on his lapels. Seriously, how can you not love him?
Auba's trophy is not undeserved, of course, the leading goalscorer in the Bundesliga at the winter break with eighteen goals from seventeen games, he also scored three goals at the 2015 Cup of Nations and finished the back half of the 14-15 Bundesliga season with eleven goals, and three goals in the DFB Pokal, the last coming in the final. Simple mathematics: goals plus an infinite amount of swagger equals Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. We can only hope this suit renders him too expensive for Arsenal.