World Cup


Egypt’s Salah wins African Footballer of the Year prize

Salah, 25, was awarded the Confederation of African Football Player of the Year accolade at a ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

2017 CAF Awards ceremony
Salah has scored 23 times in 29 appearances for Liverpool after his move to the English club [Anadolu]

Accra, Ghana – Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has capped the most successful period of his career by winning the 2017 African player of the year award.

Following a record number of votes, the Liverpool star was awarded the Confederation of African Football Player of the Year accolade on Thursday at a ceremony in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, ahead of fellow Liverpool star Sadio Mane of Senegal and Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

“It’s never easy to win a big award like that,” Salah said on Thursday.

“It’s an honour for me to be nominated with these two great players tonight.”

The 25-year-old described winning the award as a “dream come true”, before dedicating the accolade to “the children in Egypt and Africa … to remind them to never stop dreaming and never stop believing in themselves.”

Salah was the favourite to win the award having made an incredible impact at Liverpool since joining the club from Italian side AS Roma over the summer.

He is currently the Premier League’s second top scorer with 17 goals, and has enjoyed a stellar year for both club and country.

In early 2017, the forward was the central figure for Egypt as they finished runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He also had a hand in all seven of the goals that took the Pharaohs to qualification for their first World Cup since 1990.

Salah made two assists and scored five goals, including the stoppage-time penalty against Congo that sealed their ticket to the event in Russia, which is due to be held later this year.

Salah is the first Egyptian and third North African – after last year’s Algerian winner Ryad Mahrez, and Morocco’s Mustapha Hadji in 1998 – to win the prestigious individual honour since its inception by CAF in 1992.

Salah is the English Premier League's second top scorer this season [Peter Byrne/PA via AP]
Salah is the English Premier League’s second top scorer this season [Peter Byrne/PA via AP]

RedBull Salzburg of Austria and Zambia forward Patson Daka, 19, won the young player award after enjoying a breakout season for loan club FC Liefering and country.

Nigeria forward Asisat Oshoala, 23, was named female player of the year.

It was Oshoala’s third title after winning in 2014 and in 2016.

A very emotional Oshoala, who plays for Chinese side Dalian Quanjian FC, admitted at the ceremony that it has been a tough year for her.

“When I left Arsenal for China, people said I was finished but I’m happy to end the year with this,” she said.

Argentine Coach Hector Cuper was named coach of the year for his role in Egypt’s qualification for the FIFA World Cup after a 28-year wait.

Cuper also led the Pharaohs to the final of the 2017 African Cup of Nations final.

More recognition followed for Cuper and his team as seven-time African Cup of Nations champions Egypt received the national Team of the year award.

Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca, winner of the 2017 African Champions League, was named Club of the year.

Ahmed Yahya, president of Mauritania Football Federation was named football leader of the year – a reward for his country’s tremendous improvement and progress in African Club competitions.

The Platinium Awards went to president of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo and the president-elect of Liberia George Opong Weah – the 1995 African Footballer of the year winner.

Source: Al Jazeera