Mohamed Salah Retains African Player Of The Year Award

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Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates: Photo; Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Mohamed Salah completed a memorable day for Egyptian football by retaining his African Player of the Year title in Senegal Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Liverpool star finished first with club-mate Senegalese Sadio Mane and Arsenal and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the other finalists.

It was an identical outcome to last year when Salah became only the second Egyptian after 1983 winner Mahmoud al-Khatib to be voted the best footballer in Africa.

Egypt crushed sole rivals South Africa 16-1 earlier on Tuesday in a CAF executive committee vote in Dakar to decide which country succeeded Cameroon as 2019 Cup of Nations hosts.

Delays to preparations and concerns about security resulted in the central African nation being replaced as hosts, and they will stage the 2021 tournament instead.

While the 15-vote winning margin for Egypt was unexpected, the success of Salah was anticipated as he continues to score regularly for the English Premier League leaders.

Salah netted 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season — his first with the Anfield club — and has bagged 13 Premier League goals so far this season.

Ironically, Aubameyang has scored one league goal more than Salah, topping the charts with Tottenham Hotspur and England star Harry Kane on 14.

Salah was born in a northern Egyptian town Nagrig and used to make eight-hour return trips on buses to train with Cairo-based El Mokawloon (Arab Contractors).

Spotted by scouts from Swiss club Basel, he moved there in 2012 before joining Premier League giants Chelsea two years later.

Salah found scoring difficult early in his professional career and was nicknamed “chancentod” (chance killer) by the Swiss media.

Off-target

Later, playing for Chelsea in a League Cup tie, the Egyptian was so off-target with a goal attempt that the ball trickled over the touchline for a throw-in.

Unhappy with his two-goal return, Chelsea lent Salah to Italian outfits Fiorentina and Roma, then sold him to the latter club.

Salah blossomed in Rome, averaging close to a goal every two matches, and Liverpool paid almost 37 million pounds (about $47 mn/41 mn euros) to sign him two years ago.

The Egyptian had his share of setbacks last year, too, with an injury in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid also keeping him out of a World Cup defeat by Uruguay.

He returned to score against hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the Pharaohs exited their first appearance at the global showpiece in 28 years without securing even one point.

Salah netted twice and missed two penalties three months later in a 6-0 Cup of Nations rout of Niger and snatched the late winner in a 3-2 victory over Tunisia in the same competition.

Having defended his Player of the Year title, his next goal will be to match the four straight wins in the competition by former Manchester City and Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure.

The other male awards went to France-born Morocco coach Herve Renard, the Mauritania national team, and Moroccan Achraf Hakimi in the youth category.

South African Chrestinah Kgatlana was voted Women’s Player of the Year and South Africa coach Desiree Ellis and the Nigeria national team were the other female winners.

The Goal of the Year award also went to Kgatlana.

Past African Player Of The Year Winners

A poster shows a picture of former African footballer and winner of the recent presidential elections in Liberia George Weah (L) and former Malian striker Frederic Kanoute at the entrance to the International Conference Centre and venue of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards ceremony in Accra, on January 4, 2018. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Complete list of African Player of the Year award winners:

4: Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew (GHA), Samuel Eto’o (CMR), Yaya Toure (CIV)

3: George Weah (LBR)

2: Roger Milla, Thomas N’Kono (both CMR), El Hadji Diouf (SEN), Didier Drogba (CIV), Nwankwo Kanu (NGR)

1: Ahmed Faras, Mustapha Hadji, Mohamed Timoumi, Badou Zaki (all MAR), Theophile Abega, Patrick Mboma, Jean Manga-Onguene (all CMR), Emmanuel Amunike, Victor Ikpeba, Rashidi Yekini (all NGR), Lakhdar Belloumi, Rabah Madjer, Riyad Mahrez (all ALG), Frederic Kanoute, Salif Keita (both MLI), Mahmoud al Khatib, Mohamed Salah (both EGY), Karim Abdul Razak, Ibrahim Sunday (both GHA), Emmanuel Adebayor (TOG), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB), Kalusha Bwalya (ZAM), Tshimimu Bwanga (COD), Tarak Dhiab (TUN), Paul Moukila (CGO), Cherif Souleymane (GUI)

Note: France Football magazine organised an annual poll between 1970 and 1994 and the Confederation of African Football did likewise from 1992, resulting in three years when there were two awards

AFP

Liverpool’s Salah, Mane Nominated BBC’s African Player Of The Year

Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were among five nominees named for the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year award on Saturday.

Mane’s fine form for Liverpool has carried over to the international stage as the winger helped Senegal qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002.

Egypt winger Salah has also impressed for club and country.

Salah has 12 goals this season for Liverpool following his move from Roma and it was his late penalty that sent Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Chelsea’s Nigeria wing-back Victor Moses, Borussia Dortmund and Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and RB Leipzig’s Guinea midfielder Naby Keita make up the rest of the shortlist.

Aubameyang became the first African to top the Bundesliga’s scoring charts outright with 31 goals last season.

Keita, who has agreed to join Liverpool at the end of this season, made the Bundesliga team of the year as his club were surprise qualifiers for the Champions League.

Moses has thrived under Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, becoming a key figure at right wing-back for the Premier League title winners last season.

The BBC will announce the award winner on December 11.

AFP

Leekens Resigns As Algeria’s National Football Team Coach

george-leekens-former-algerian-coachThe Coach of Algeria’s National football team, George Leekens, has resigned following the team’s early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The Desert Foxes were among the favourites to win the trophy but crashed out on Monday after failing to win a game and gathered just two points from group B.

In a statement on the Algerian Football Federation’s website, Leekens said: “For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heartache.

“I wish all the success in the world to the national side”.

With an impressive team that has current African Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City’s Islam Slimani, the Belgian was expected to challenge for the AFCON title.

Algeria are also struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Desert Foxes are bottom of Group B, after two matches, recording a draw and a loss.

Only the group winners go through and they already trail Nigeria by five points.

“Given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” Leekens added.

The Algerian Football Federation is yet to announce who will take over from the vacant role.

Udoh Celebrates CAF Champions League Top Scorer Feat

Mfon Udoh, Eyimba, CAF Champions LeagueEnyimba Striker, Mfon Udoh, is happy to emerge the top scorer in the just concluded 2016 CAF Champions League.

He also expressed delight at simultaneously being shortlisted for the African Player of the Year (based in Africa) award.

The footballer netted nine goals ahead of Wydad’s Reda Hajhouj who had six goals to emerge top scorer in the CAF Champions League.

The Peoples’ Elephant had struggled in the group stage and managed just a win over eventual champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.

Udoh wants to savour the moment just like two years ago when he emerged the highest goals scorer in the Nigerian local league, becoming the first player to score 23 goals in a single season in Nigeria.

He is also the first to score over 35 league goals in two seasons in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Two Nigerians Make CAF Award Nominee List

Two Nigerians Make CAF Award Norminee ListTwo Nigerian internationals have been shortlisted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in a 37-man list for the 2015 African Footballer of the year.

Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa and goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who recently announced his retirement from international football made the list released by CAF on Sunday.

The current African Player of the year, Yaya Toure is also on the list.

England-based players Riyad Mahrez from Algeria, Yannick Bolasie of DR Congo, Ghana’s Andre Ayew, Mame Diouf from Senegal, Kenya’s Victor Wanyama and Gabon skipper, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were also on the list.

Meanwhile, no Nigerian player plying their trade in the domestic league made the shortlist of 24 players shortlisted for the African player of the year based in Africa.

Yaya Beats Mikel To Win 2013 African Player Of The Year As Nigeria Sweeps CAF Awards

Ivorian Midfielder, Yaya Toure, has beaten Nigerian Super Eagles and Chelsea FC midfielder, John Mikel Obi to win for the 3rd consecutive year, the coveted ‘African Footballer of the Year’ Award, at the Glo CAF Awards 2013 held in Lagos.

Mikel Obi was highly favoured by many Nigerians who saw his exploits and team successes with club and country in 2013 as the best credentials to claim the award which has eluded Nigerian footballers since Kanu Nwankwo won it in the year 1999.

While Nigeria confirmed its status as the number 1 footballing country on the African continent during the year 2013 by winning in five categories, the loss of the ultimate crown would cast a gloom on the other successes.

The Nigerian Super Eagles won the award for the ‘National Team of the Year’, while the national Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, also won ‘Youth National Team of the Year’ at the Glo CAF Awards 2013.

Both teams had been expected by many pundits to claim the awards, having won major tournaments at continental and global levels during the year in review.

The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 for the first time in 19 years, while the Golden Eaglets won the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament in United Arab Emirates.

Golden Eaglets’ wonder kid, Kelechi Iheanacho, unsurprisingly won the ‘Most Promising Talent’ Award. Ihenacho was the most decorated at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, winning the tournament’s Adidas Golden Ball Award for the overall best player, alongside the Silver Boot Award for being the second highest goal scorer, as he helped Nigeria to its 4th title to become the most successful team in the history of the age grade competition.

The Nigerian Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, was also named ‘African Coach of the Year’ for his exploits with the African Champions. Keshi became the first Nigerian to win the Nations’ Cup as player and coach, and only the second African coach to do so after Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.

Fair Play Award went to the Nigerian Supporters Club, globally popular for their constant playing of music and dancing while supporting the Nigerian national teams.

Other winners at the awards were Egyptian, Mohammed Aboutreika, who beat Nigeria’s African Nations’ Cup final hero, Sunday Mba, to win the ‘African Player of the Year based in Africa’, while the ‘Club of the Year’ went to Al Ahly FC of Egypt.

The ‘Referee of the Year’ award went to Algerian, Haimoudi Djamel, who officiated the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, and also officiated the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup play-off for third place between Uruguay and Italy.

The African Team of the Year is made up of Vincent Enyeama (NIG), Ahmed Fathy (EGY), Mehdi (MOR), Kevin Constant (GUI), Mikel Obi (NIG), Mohammed Aboutreika (EGY), Yaya Toure (CIV), Jonathan Pitroipa (BFA), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB), Emmanuel Emenike (NIG), Asamoah Gyan (GHA) Coach Stephen Keshi (NIG)

Five Nigerian players from the successful AFCON 2013 Eagles were nominated for the now lost ‘African Player of the Year’ Award; they include Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba and Vincent Enyeama.

Only Mikel Obi made the final 3 man nominees list alongside the 3rd time winner, Ivorian, Yaya Toure and his Ivorian counterpart, Didier Drogba.

Winners were announced in Lagos on January 9, 2014.

5 Nigerians Nominated For African Player Of The Year Award

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released the nominees for the yearly awards.

25 players made the cut for the flagship African Player of the Year category, and 21 for the African Player of the Year based in Africa.

Five Nigerian players were nominated for the player of the year award; they include Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba and Vincent Enyeama.

The winners will be announced at the GLO-CAF Awards gala scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Lagos.

Ivorian, Yaya Toure is the reigning African Player of the Year and Mohamed Aboutrika of Egypt is the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa).