By Mark Gleeson
Yaya Toure looked more relieved than elated as he lifted the African Nations Cup for the first time at the sixth attempt, breaking his duck at international level with the Ivory Coast.
“When you win with your club, it’s quite amazing but with your country it’s something unbelievable,” he said after the Ivory Coast shaded Ghana 9-8 on penalties in Sunday’s final in Bata.
“I’ve been waiting for so many years now. I’ve been dreaming of this. It’s difficult right now to describe the feeling as captain, it’s something special.”
Midfielder Toure, 31, has won league titles at clubs in three different countries and a Champions League with Barcelona.
For Manchester City, he has twice proven a cup final hero and also won two English Premier League titles over the last four seasons.
But with the Ivory Coast it has been a tale of woe up until Sunday’s decider at Estadio de Bata which was settled by penalties following 120 minutes of goalless action.
Toure was on the losing side in both 2006 and 2012 final when the Ivorians were defeated on penalties.
He also suffered World Cup heart break in Brazil last year when the west Africans were on the brink of reaching the second round for the first time only to concede late on to Greece which sent them out of the tournament.
“I’m a guy who always likes to win but I think we had the luck today,” he said.
“But I’m delighted for my family and all those around us who have supported us. I will go now to my people and celebrate.
“It was little bit stressful in the penalty shootout but I’m very delighted with the win and I want to say thank you,” said Toure, who has played at every Nations Cup tournament since 2006.