Yaya Touré believes the lack of world-class African players is down to a “fatalistic resignation” among them and admitted the current generation is failing to match the exploits of men like Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba.
On Monday, the Manchester City midfielder was named on a 10-man shortlist to be crowned CAF’s player of the year – an award he has won for the last four seasons.
The Ivory Coast international is also the continent’s only representative on the 23-man shortlist for the 2015 Ballon d’Or and in an interview with France Football he blamed the absence of other African players on the list on a lack of focus once they reach the top level.
“Africans have a tendency to slack off,” he said. “They are living in a world of their own. They believe they made it, they are the greatest, the strongest. But they don’t understand that there are many more hills to climb to reach the top.
“Unfortunately, many only see the bright side of this job: the easy money, the girls, the parties, the big cars and the beautiful clothes. And they give up too quickly on the idea of matching the best players.”
Touré added: “Many are content with little. They send money back home and are safe for the next few years. What is the point of suffering?
“I have the feeling they prohibit themselves from dreaming big with a kind of fatalistic resignation. They believe that the highest level is not for them.”
Touré stated last year that he felt undervalued as a player because he is African, an opinion that was echoed by his City team-mate Samir Nasri. But the 32-year-old admitted that the achievements of Eto’o and Drogba have made it difficult for the current generation to make an impact.
“For some time now, I have also seen that Africans are struggling to impose themselves or to exist in larger teams,” he said.
“But all this is just the fault of Didier [Drogba], Eto’o, [Michael Essien or [Jay Jay] Okocha. And perhaps, too, a little bit of my own, without wanting to look pretentious. These players then have set the bar so high that it is very hard to come back.
“If I was Brazilian, I think everything would have been easier for me. It’s just an observation, I really do not look for excuses. But I always had this feeling and it is a little disturbing. Who? A little everyone: the established order, observers, trainers, policy makers. In fact, when an African arrived at the top, he is not always received well. As if it was not necessary. As if it was not for him.”