The Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba

LUANDA – 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.