Liverpool star Sadio Mane was crowned on Tuesday as Africa’s 2019 Player of the Year for the first time at an awards gala in Egypt.
The 27-year old Senegalese striker was up against his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian who won the award the last two years, and Algerian Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City.
“I am really happy and at the same time I am really proud to win this award,” said Mane at the ceremony organised by the Confederation of African Football in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Hurghada.
“It’s a big day for me.”
Mane became the second star from Senegal to be named African Player of the Year after El Hadji Diouf, who was the continent’s best player in 2001 and 2002.
He scored 34 goals and produced 12 assists in 61 appearances in 2019, according to CAF statistics.
Salah’s tally stood at 26 goals and 10 assists in 55 matches while Mahrez accounted for 14 goals and 18 assists in 48 games last year.
The key Senegalese player shared the 2018/19 Premier League Golden Boot award with Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Gabon.
“I would love to thank all the Senegalese people. They have been for me all the time, they push me,” said Mane, extending sincere gratitude to people from his village Bambali.