Ghana and Marseille winger Andre “Dede” Ayew has been named the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year for 2011.
The 21-year-old took over a third of the votes to follow in the footsteps of his father, Abedi “Pele” Ayew, who won the inaugural BBC award in 1991.
Ayew beat Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Samuel Eto’o and Seydou Keita to the title.
“I’m honoured and surprised to receive this prestigious award, especially considering the great players who have won it in the past,” said Ayew.
“I thank all the people who voted for me – in Ghana, in Africa and in the world.
“I’m going to work hard to show them they made a good choice.”
The award was voted for by African football fans who nominated their favourites either by text or email.
They chose from a shortlist which was drawn up by football experts from every country in Africa, who based their choices on players’ skill, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play.
After making an impact on the international stage in 2010, when he impressed observers at both the Africa Cup of Nations and Fifa World Cup, 2011 marked a year when Ayew became a key figure at club level.
He finished the 2010-11 campaign as a regular starter for Marseille for the first time in his career, with his goal tally of 11 aiding his cause.
At the start of this season, he struck a hat-trick to help Marseille win the French Super League – and has since contested all but one of his side’s 17 league games, scoring six times.
Injury ruled him out of Marseille’s opening Champions League group game but the Ghanaian has gone on to miss just one minute of European action since then, as the 1993 champions reached the knockout stages.
He will be honoured as BBC African Footballer of the Year 2011 in a short ceremony ahead of Marseille’s home game against Lorient on Saturday, on his 22nd birthday.
At international level, Ayew also played a key role in ensuring that the Black Stars qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with an unbeaten record.
Abedi “Pele” Ayew was the first winner of the BBC African Sports Star of the Year award for his achievements in 1991, with the title later turning into the current BBC African Footballer of the Year award.
“Dede” becomes the fifth Ghanaian to win after his father, Sammy Kuffour (2001), Michael Essien (2006) and last year’s winner Asamoah Gyan.
Previous winners of BBC African Footballer of the Year award:
2010 – Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)
2009 – Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)
2008 – Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2007 – Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)
2006 – Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)
2005 – Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2004 – Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2003 – Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2002 – El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)
2001 – Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)
2000 – Patrick Mboma (Parma & Cameroon)