Liverpool’s Sengaleese winger Sadio Mane won the CAF Player of the Year trophy for 2019, narrowly edging past fellow Premier League stars Mohammed Salah and Riyad Mahrez for the award.
Having finished runner-up in 2017 and 2018, Mane finally finished first in the voting for 2019’s Confederation of Africa (CAF) Player of the Year award. The Liverpool winger scored 30 goals in all competitions for the 2018-19 season, helping his side win the Champions League for the first time since 2005. Mane has also started well in the subsequent season; and is one of the two non-English players to score more than ten goals in the season as of Christmas, 2019.
On the International front, Mane was part of the Senegal team that finished as runners-up in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, scoring three goals in the competition. With such an illustrious record in the past 12 months, it was no surprise that the 27-year-old piped the other competitors to win the CAF Player of the Year Award.
Sadio’s speech after winning the African Player of the Year award.❤️ pic.twitter.com/5Zoc5jVNuL— Kloppholic (@Kloppholic) January 7, 2020
"I'm really happy and proud to win this. Football is my job, I love it,” Mane was quoted saying in the acceptance speech in an event held in Hurghada, Egypt.
"I would like to thank my family, my national team, staff, the federation and Liverpool Football Club. It's a big day for me," he added.
One of Mane’s main competitors, Riyad Mahrez was quick to congratulate his contemporary for the award, but playfully took a jibe at the Sengaleese star in that same tweet. The Algerian winger could not attend the ceremony in Egypt as he was representing his club Manchester City in their Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United, a game which his side won 1-3 with Mahrez scoring the second.
Congratulations to Sadio for his trophy well deserved 🙏🏼 and sorry I couldn't come but I had to start scoring for the 2020 trophy 😘😂 see you next year inch'Allah 🇩🇿 #CAFAwards2019 pic.twitter.com/AdomL38DoE— Riyad Mahrez (@Mahrez22) January 7, 2020
“Congratulations to Sadio for his trophy well deserved and sorry I couldn't come but I had to start scoring for the 2020 trophy. See you next year,” tweeted Mahrez. The Algerian winger has seven goals and 12 assists in all competitions this season, and if he were to continue this scoring spree, Mane definitely has some fierce competition in retaining his trophy.
Photo courtesy: Khaled Desouki/ AFP