Gaël Kakuta was voted best African player in the French Football Championship (Ligue 1), on 17 May 2021. In the standings, the 29-year-old offensive midfielder is ahead of forwards Andy Delort (Montpellier HSC/Algeria) and Tino Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais/Zimbabwe). He is the first player from RC Lens and the RD Congo national team to win the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize, awarded by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France 24.
Gaël Kakuta will celebrate his 30th birthday on 21st June. But the attacking midfielder will receive a birthday present a little in advance: the Marc-Vivien Foé Award 2021. He was voted best African player in the French Football Championship (Ligue 1) under the colours of the RC Lens. A training club in which he returned in July 2020, after having played in five other championships (England, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, China) and eleven other teams, since his departure in 2007.
This trophy rewards the excellent performances of Gaël Kakuta, author of 11 goals and 5 assists in 34 Ligue 1 matches, but also the beautiful season of Lens, which was still in second division in 2020.
A special coronation
Gaël Kakuta succeeds two players from neighbouring and rival LOSC, Nicolas Pépé in 2019 and Victor Osimhen in 2020. The one who was born in Lille but feels deeply Lens is the first Artesian to receive this distinction which bears the name of an old local icon, Marc-Vivien Foé. The Cameroonian midfielder, who died brutally on 26 June 2003 in Lyon, had been French champion with the Sang et Or in 1998.
This consecration is even doubly special since Gaël Kakuta is also the first Congolese winner of this Prize created in 2009 by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and awarded with France 24 since 2011. A victory that is all the more symbolic since the player has long been considered a great hope for French football, before joining the Leopards in 2017.
Lens midfielder Gaël Kakuta (c) congratulated by his teammates after his goal against Bordeaux at the Bollaert stadium on September 19, 2020
Lens midfielder Gaël Kakuta (c) congratulated by his teammates after his goal against Bordeaux at the Bollaert stadium on 19 September 2020 AFP/Archives
Andy Delort second
We will have to wait, however, for an Algerian to impose himself. In this 2021 edition, Montpellier striker Andy Delort finished second with 118 points, behind Gaël Kakuta’s 219 points. OL’s Zimbabwean forward Tino Kadewere is third with 70 points.
Just behind him, the gap is very close between four other players including another Lensois: Seko Fofana. The Ivorian midfielder is 7th with 58 points. Karl Toko-Ekambi, winner in 2018, finishes 8th with 58 points.
MARC-VIVIEN FOÉ 2021 AWARD: THE RANKING
1. Gaël Kakuta (RC Lens/RD Congo): 219 points
2. Andy Delort (Montpellier HSC/Algeria): 118 points
3. Tino Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais/Zimbabwe): 70 points
4. Boulaye Dia (Stade de Reims/Senegal): 69 points
5. Idrissa Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain/Senegal): 62 points
6. Farid Boulaya (CF Metz/Algeria): 60 points
7. Seko Fofana (RC Lens/Côte d’Ivoire): 58 points
8. Karl Toko-Ekambi (Olympique Lyonnais/Cameroun): 32 points
9. Reinildo Mandava (LOSC/Mozambique): 21 points
10. Alexandre Oukidja (FC Metz/Algeria): 7 points
11. Nayef Aguerd (Stade Rennais/Maroc): 4 points
MARC-VIVIEN FOÉ AWARD: THE AWARDS
2021: Gaël Kakuta (RC Lens/RD Congo)
2020: Victor Osimhen (LOSC/Nigeria)
2019: Nicolas Pépé (LOSC/Côte d’Ivoire)
2018: Karl Toko-Ekambi (Angers SCO/Cameroon)
2017: Jean Michaël Seri (OGC Nice/Côte d’Ivoire)
2016: Sofiane Boufal (LOSC/Morocco)
2015: André Ayew (Olympique de Marseille/Ghana)
2014: Vincent Enyeama (LOSC/Nigeria)
2013: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (AS Saint-Etienne/Gabon)
2012: Younès Belhanda (Montpellier HSC/Morocco)
2011: Gervinho (LOSC/Côte d’Ivoire)
2010*: Gervinho (LOSC/Côte d’Ivoire)
2009*: Marouane Chamakh (Girondins de Bordeaux/Maroc)
*The trophy was not yet called the Marc-Vivien Foé Award.
MARC-VIVIEN FOÉ AWARD: INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
The Prix Marc-Vivien Foé 2021 rewards the best African player of the French First Division Championship (Ligue 1) 2020-2021. Eligible players are Ligue 1 players who have represented an African national team in an official match and have not changed their sports nationality since.
The winner was chosen after a vote organized by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France 24 with a panel of specialised journalists, consultants and football players.Eighty-one people spoke out for this thirteenth edition.
Source : RFI