Drogba wins BBC African Footballer of the Year award
By Stephen Fottrell
BBC African Sport
Drogba wins the BBC award for the first time in his career
Didier Drogba of Chelsea and Ivory Coast has been crowned the 2009 BBC African Footballer of the Year.
The striker beat Samuel Eto'o, Michael Essien, Yaya Toure, and Tresor Mputu Mabi to the title.
The results of the poll - voted for by football fans around the world - were announced live from Angola on the BBC African Service Fast Track programme.
Drogba is preparing to lead his country at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, where the Elephants are favourites.
After a disappointing start to the year, Drogba saw his footballing fortunes vastly improve throughout 2009.
Frozen out of Chelsea's team by then Blues coach Luis Felipe Scolari, the Ivorian striker had scored just one goal in 10 matches by February.
He also earned himself a lengthy ban for a foul-mouthed rant at live television cameras after Chelsea's elimination from last season's Champions League.
The Ivory Coast captain is preparing to lead his country in Angola
He ended the year, however, with Chelsea challenging for the 2009/2010 English Premier League title and Champions League crown, an FA Cup winner's medal in the bag and widely recognised as one of the most influential strikers in world football.
On the international scene, he secured qualification for the Ivory Coast at the 2010 World Cup and Nations Cup finals.
He scored six times in five games in the Elephants' campaign, including the goal which would take them to the World Cup - an equaliser against Malawi which he scored minutes after coming on as a substitute in Blantyre.
Drogba is currently joint top scorer in the Premier League on 14 goals and heads to Angola with Chelsea currently top of the table.
He also claimed recently that he is aiming to break the club's all-time goal-scoring record, having signed a contract extension to remain at Stamford Bridge until 2012.
Away from football, Drogba has campaigned for greater education in Africa to combat HIV/AIDS and has also raised money to build a new hospital in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan.
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