January 9 – Liverpool and Senegal’s Sadio Mane – in what is a rare reversal of awards fortune – came out on top of Egyptian and club team mate Mo Salah to win the African men’s player of the year award for 2019. Nigerian and Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala took the African women’s player of the year.
Mane always makes the final awards lists but never seems to take the top prize. The CAF award is a rightful recognition for a player who in the 2018-19 season played in a remarkable 70 matches and travelled 100,000 kilometres to represent his national team, without the benefit of a mid-season break.
That workload or commitment hasn’t slackened off this season with Mane having netted 13 times so far for Liverpool, 11 in the Premier League.
Mane, Liverpool and Senegal weren’t the only ones celebrating. His boot sponsor New Balance (who have just lost Liverpool’s kit sponsorship to Nike from the start of next season) marked the award with a special edition pair of the new Furon 6 boots.
Asisat Oshoala has been one Africa’s leading women’s stars for a while. She was named best player and was the highest goal scorer at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and has now won the African Women’s player of the year four times.
In 2019 Oshoala scored at the Women’s World Cup to help Nigeria reach the last 16 in France while scoring 10 goals in 13 appearances for her club side Barcelona after joining in February.
The awards in Hurghada, Egypt, proved to be a good night for the Algerians who after their CAF Africa Cup of Nations victory won the team of the year award with Djamel Belmadi recognised as coach of the year. Algerian and Man City winger Riyad Mahrez won African goal of the year, while his national team mate Youcef Belaïli won the African Interclubs player of the year – he is currently playing for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli.
The awards reflected FIFA’s increased interest in Africa with the governing body’s team of legends including Youri Djorkaeff, Mido, Clementine Toure and Laura Georges flying in to fulfil a series of media engagements and play in one of FIFA’s increasingly unavoidable Legends matches – reports are that there would be no awards for excellence arising from that game.
CAF Awards 2019 winners
African Interclubs Player of the Year: Youcef Belaïli (Algeria & Esperance / Ahli Jeddah)
African Youth Player of the Year: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmund)
African Women’s National Team of the Year: Cameroon
African Men’s National Team of the Year: Algeria
Best African Goal of the Year: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
FIFPro Africa’s Best 11: Andre Onana; Serge Aurier, Joel Matip, Kalidou Koulibaly, Achraf Hakimi; Idrissa Gana Gueye, Riyad Mahrez, Hakim Ziyech; Mohamed Salah, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Sadio Mane
African Women’s Coach of the Year: Desiree Ellis (South Africa)
African Men’s Coach of the Year: Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)
Club President of the Year: Moise Katumbi (TP Mazembe)
African Women’s Player of the Year: Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Barcelona)
African Player of the Year: Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
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