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Arsenal striker Adebayor proud of African Player of Year gong

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been awarded his trophy for being named 2008 African Player of the Year.

He becomes the first player from his country to win the award, which comes on the back of a successful 12 months for himself, rather than his Premier League club, who failed to win any silverware last season.

The 24-year-old, the Togolese Player of the Year for the past four seasons, netted 31 goals for the Gunners during 2008, including a run of scoring in eight consecutive games from January to mid-February.

He said: "As you know, tonight is a special night for me. I am very honoured to be here with you, especially in Lagos. I am very happy and very pleased.

"My mum is here with me. Unfortunately my father is not alive anymore but I know that wherever he is, he will be very proud of me.

"I would love to dedicate this to my mum, because without her I cannot be here.

"And I would like to say as well that we African people, we have to believe. As we know, (World Cup) 2010 is coming to Africa and we have to help each other as a family, and as a unit we can do something.

"So we have to believe and if we believe we can achieve this," added the striker, who surprisingly made the final shortlist for the first time in his career.

Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou was named Young Player of the Year in a category for footballers under the age of 23.

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