#CAFAwards2019 : African Player Of the Year Contenders
By Olamide Fadoju
All is now set for the conferment of the Best male African player in the past year by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The King of African football will be crowned today, January, 7, at the Albatros Citadel Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada, Egypt.
We take a look at the three finalists and how they have fared in the past year.
Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
The Egyptian, Salah will be looking to win his third consecutive African Player of the Year Award in his home country.
Since moving to Liverpool from Roma for 37 million pounds in 2017. He has been nothing short of incredible. The Liverpool forward, 27, has scored 85 goals in 135 appearances for the reds in all competitions.
He has also finished as the Premier League top scorer twice with the latest being during the 2018/2019 season in which his 22 goals was enough to see him finish joint-top on the charts.
He scored 22 times to finish joint-top of the Premier League goal-scoring charts as Liverpool’s remarkable season that saw them fall short by a point to Manchester City in their quest for their first league title in 29 years. He, however, helped his club defeat Tottenham to win the UEFA Champions League in May.
However, on the International scene, 2019 was disappointing as the Salah and the Pharaohs of Egypt failed to get past the round of 16 stage at the African Cup Of Nations on home soil.
In the current season, his 10 goals and four assists for Liverpool in 17 appearances has helped them to a 13 points lead in Premier League as they remain unbeatable.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City)
2016 CAF Player of the Year, Mahrez was part of the Manchester City team that historically won the domestic treble (Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao cup).
Although competition for a place in the Man City XI meant he wasn’t a regular, he still managed 5 goals in 14 starts in the Premier League.
However, his impact on the international scene cannot be questioned as he helped his home country Algeria lift the African Cup of Nations. He scored thrice including a late winner against Nigeria to send his team to the final of the competition.
In the current 2019/2020 season, he has scored six goals and assisted five in eleven appearances in the Premier League.
Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
Senegalese, Sadio Mane had a remarkable season with Liverpool producing impressive performances on a consistent basis. He scored more non-penalty goals than any other player and his 22 goals saw him finish Joint-top scorer in the Premier League.
He was named in the PFA Team of the year and finished in fourth place in the 2019 Ballon d’Or list.
Mane was an integral part of the Senegalese team that reached the final of African Cup of Nations in Egypt but narrowly lost to Algeria. His three goals and performance was enough to put him in the Team of the Tournament.
The Liverpool forward has contributed 11 goals and six assists in 2019/2020 season in the Premier League as the Reds comfortably top the Premier League standing.