Senegal and Liverpool star Sadio Mane was crowned the 2019 African Player of the Year- his first- on Tuesday.
In a glitzy gala held in the Sahl Hasheesh bay on the Red Sea coast, Mane was rewarded for some splendid displays in 2019 for club and country to beat Salah and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez.
“I would like to thank all Senegalese people. They follow me all the time, they push me. I’m really happy and I’m very proud to win this,” Mane said at the ceremony.
“Football is my job, I love it … This is life, we have to keep dreaming.”
Mane was the Premier League’s joint top scorer with 23 goals last season, on level with Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as Liverpool finished runners-up to champions Manchester City only by the virtue of a single point following a thrilling race.
He and Salah also led Liverpool to their first European Champions League title since 2005 and both made fine starts to the new term in the second half of the calendar year, scoring 10 and nine Premier League goals respectively.
But Mane still went one better than Salah on the international level, which might have proved crucial in the CAF vote by coaches and captains of national teams.
He scored three goals and provided an assist as Senegal reached the African Nations Cup final in Egypt while the hosts suffered an embarrassing last-16 exit, although Salah still managed to net two goals.
Riyad Mahrez, who came third in the vote, steered Algeria to a Nations Cup crown and won with City a second straight Premier League title, but he might have paid the price of struggling for regular football with the Citizens this term.
By: Enock Sakyi/newsgogh.com