International

Salah retains top Africa award to seal great day for Egypt

2019-01-09 07:17
Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah (Getty Images)

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

READ: CAF award winners

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.

"I have dreamt of winning this award since I was a child and now I have done so twice in a row," Salah said soon after receiving his trophy in Dakar.

"My thanks go to my family, my team-mates and my fans and I dedicate this trophy to my homeland, Egypt."

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.

ALSO READ: Desiree Ellis wins CAF Women's Coach of the Year

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.

Complete list of African Player of the Year award winners after Egyptian Mohamed Salah won the 2018 edition in Dakar:

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), Mohamed Salah (EGY)

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 (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 award between 1970 and 1994 and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have done so since 1992 resulting in three years when there were two awards

Read more on:    egypt  |  banyana ­banyana  |  caf  |  caf awards  |  mohamed salah  |  soccer

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

After Stuart Baxter stepped down as Bafana Bafana head coach, who would you like to see take over?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.