ABU DHABI // Emmanuel Adebayor hopes being crowned the best African player of 2008 at the Super Awards will boost his chances of winning the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) player of the year title later this month. The Arsenal and Togo striker won the award in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday by a tiny margin - scoring 266.2 in the voting, compared to Michael Essien's 265. "I have done a lot of things to put me a step closer to winning the CAF award," he said.
"After doing what I did last year, I have a chance. If I win I will be very pleased and very happy, but it has to be won by a player who deserves it. That's the most important thing." The Togo international, 24, scored 30 goals for his club in 2008 in domestic and European competition. He was the only one of the three winners to pick up his award, and a cheque for US$100,000 (Dh367,285), in person.
Park Ji-Sung, the Manchester United and South Korea winger, won the Asian player award with ease. He finished on 359 points - more than 100 more than runner-up Yasuhito Endo of Japan. Park was absent from the Emirates Palace gala due to Manchester United's Carling Cup semi-final against Derby County, although he sent a pre-recorded speech. Abebayor said of Park: "He is a very good player. He always works hard for his team and is one of the best midfielders in one of the best leagues in the world."
Egypt's Mohammed Aboutrika, who is also on the shortlist for the CAF award, won the prize for best Arab player. The Al Ahly midfielder's score of 484 was 131 more than his second-placed compatriot Amr Zaki.The UAE striker Ismail Matar finished third in the voting for both the Arab and Asian categories. email@example.com