Liverpool star Sadio Mane was named as Africa’s Footballer of the Year for 2019. He won the Champions League with Liverpool and led Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations final.
Senegal star Mane picks up the award for the first time in his career, having finished second in the last two seasons and third in 2016. He is only the second Senegalese to win the award after El Hadji Diouf, who was the winner in 2001 and 2002.
Sadio Mane was the Barcelona great Lionel Messi’s pick for the Ballon d’Or that Messi himself won in 2019. He finished back in fourth then, but there was no-one who was getting in his way when it came to 2019’s African Footballer of the Year Award . Quite literally.
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Egyptian icon Salah won the award in each of the last two years, but 2019 saw Mane’s importance in Liverpool grow. Real Madrid and PSG are often linked to Sadio Mane during recent transfer seasons.
Manchester City’s Algerian star Riyad Mahrez was also nominated, having helped his nation to the African Nations Cup, beating Mane’s Senegal 1-0 in the final. Mahrez was unable to attend the ceremony in Cairo as he is involved in City’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Tuesday night. At the same time, Salah was also absent from the event in his home country and was pictured in training with Liverpool on Tuesday.
Reactions to Award for Sadio Mane
Mane looked happy as he said, -“I am really happy and at the same time really proud to win this award.”
“I would like to thank my family, especially my uncle who is here today, without forgetting all the Egyptian people as well and of course my national team coach Aliou Cisse, my teammates with the national team and the staff at the Federation”-He added.
A humble Mane thanked his Reds teammates upon accepting the gong in Cairo. “I also thank Liverpool Football Club, my teammates, the staff and everybody there.
Best Award – African Football
Mahrez did win one award – the African goal of the year for a free-kick he scored for Algeria against Nigeria in his country’s Afcon semi-final victory.
Salah, Mane and Mahrez all made the African best XI team, along with three other Premier League-based players – Liverpool centre-half Joel Matip, Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
African best XI: Andre Onana (Ajax/Cameroon), Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund/Morocco), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli/Senegal), Joel Matip (Liverpool/Cameroon), Serge Aurier (Tottenham/Ivory Coast), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City/Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Paris St-Germain/Senegal), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax/Morocco), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt), Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal/Gabon)
Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi, 21, who plays for Borussia Dortmund on loan from Real Madrid, was the winner of the Youth Player of the Year award.