First Published: 2018-01-05

Salah wins African Player of the Year award
Mohamed Salah becomes first Egyptian to win award since Mahmoud al Khatib in 1983 after year of impressive performances for Egypt and Liverpool FC.
Middle East Online

Salah is also BBC African Footballer of the Year and Arab Player of the Year.

CAIRO - Prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah was named African Player of the Year in Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday, the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al Khatib in 1983.

The 25-year-old has scored 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions this season for the Premier League outfit after moving from AS Roma in the summer.

He also starred for resurgent Egypt, who last year finished runners-up to Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations and secured a first World Cup appearance since 1990.

In the penultimate round of World Cup qualifying, Salah scored the brace that edged Congo Brazzaville in Alexandria, including the stoppage-time winner from a penalty that sealed a trip to Russia.

Salah's Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, of Senegal, was runner-up and 2015 winner, Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang third after a 30-player list had been trimmed to three.

National coaches, Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials, journalists and the public were involved in the voting.

"Winning this award is a dream come true -- 2017 was an unbelievable year for me I had a fantastic time with the national team," said Salah after receiving the trophy.

"This is a big award for me, a special moment in my career. I would like to dedicate it to all the kids in Africa and Egypt.

"I want to tell them to never stop dreaming, never stop believing."

The Egyptian succeeds Algerian Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City as holder of the most prized CAF individual award.

It is the first time since 1986 that stars from the north of the continent, which along with the west is the strongest football region, have won successive titles.

Victory on Thursday completed an awards hat-trick for Salah, who was named BBC African Footballer of the Year in December and Arab Player of the Year earlier this week.

Mane was voted 2016-2017 Liverpool Player of the Season, but the 25-year-old has since been overshadowed at Anfield by Salah's scoring exploits.

He did stand out for Senegal, however, as they secured a first World Cup appearance since 2002, providing much of the creativity in a team stacked with physically formidable footballers.

Aubameyang was Bundesliga top scorer with 31 goals last season, holding off Bayern Munich and Poland ace Robert Lewandowski.

He flopped with Gabon, though, failing to take the 2017 Cup of Nations hosts past the first round and shunning several World Cup call-ups as Gabon failed to qualify.

Other award winners included Women's Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria and Youth Player of the Year Patson Daka of Zambia.

Argentine Egypt manager Hector Cuper was named Coach of Year and other honours went to Egypt (national team), South Africa (women's national team) and Wydad Casablanca (club).

Ahead of the awards ceremony, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad told a media conference why the Africa-based Player of the Year and Referee of the Year awards had been scrapped.

"When a footballer aims for excellence, they must rise to the highest standards, irrespective of where they play. We hope one day the best player will be based in Africa.

"Referees already have their rewards and marks of recognition. They are evaluated after every match and the best are designated matches like the CAF Champions League final."

Shortlists had been drawn up for both awards when the CAF executive committee decided to dump them, initially without offering any explanations.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China