African Player of the Year

Egyptian play-maker Mohamed Salah has been crowned African Player of the Year 2017.

The 25-year-old, who plays for English premiership side Liverpool, picked the topmost prize at the Aiteo CAF Awards Gala 2017, held at the International Conference Centre in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Salah fended off opposition from club-mate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Gabonese and German club Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, winner in 2015, to become the first Egyptian to win the most prestigious individual honour in African football. He polled 625 points, against 507 from Mane whilst Aubameyang finished a distant third with 311 points.

The feat capped a superb year for the forward who played an influential role for both club and country during the year under review, the Africa football governing body, Confederation of African Football (CAF), said on its website.

Salah has been in top form helping Egypt to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia and also scoring 17 goals for Liverpool so far this season. Egypt were also runners-up in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

His feat was the climax of a memorable evening for Egyptian football which also saw the Pharaohs being named National Team of the Year and their Argentinian-born trainer, Hector Cuper, Coach of the Year.

Nigerian Asisat Oshoala was adjudged Women’s Player of the Year for the third time, after 2014 and 2016. She beat Cameroonian Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and Chrestina Kgatlana of South Africa to the top prize.

However, Kgatlana took consolation in Banyana Banyana being named Women’s National Team of the Year.

Patson Daka ensured Zambia was represented on the podium with the Youth Player of the Year, ten years after compatriot Clifford Mulenga was decorated Most Promising Talent of the Year.

African champions, Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco, went home with the Club of the Year award.

Former Ghana player Ibrahim Sunday, a member of the Asante Kotoko squad that won the African Cup of Champions Clubs in 1970 was decorated with the Legend award.

CAF Executive Committee member, Ahmed Yahya, who doubles as president of the Mauritania Football Federation was named Football Leader of the Year.

There were two Platinum Awards, one to Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and global football icon, George Weah, now president-elect of Liberia.

The ceremony had Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Sierra Leonean Fatma Samoura, FIFA General Secretary, among some high profile attendees.

There were also musical performances from Toofan from Togo, DR Congo’s Fally Ipupa, Ghanaian duo, Shatta Wale and Kidi, and Nigerian septet of Patoranking, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Runtown, Olamide, Phyno and Flavour.

The following is the full list of winners of the Awards:

African Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)

Women’s Player of the Year: Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dalian Quanjian)

Youth Player of the Year: Patson Daka (Zambia & Liefering)

Coach of the Year: Hector Cuper (Egypt)

Club of the Year: Wydad Athletic Club

National Team of the Year: Egypt

Women’s National Team of the Year: South Africa

Legend: Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana)

Platinum Award: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – President of Ghana;
George Weah – President-elect of Liberia & former World, Africa and European Player of the Year

Fans’ Finest XI
Goalkeeper: Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Egypt & Al Ahly), Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United), Ali Maaloul (Tunisia & Al Ahly)
Midfielders: Mohamed Ounnajem (Morocco & Wydad Athletic Club), Karim El Ahmadi (Morocco & Feyenoord), Junior Ajayi (Nigeria & Al Ahly), Achraf Bencharki (Morocco & Wydad Athletic Club)
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Morocco & Yeni Malatyaspor), Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool), Taha Yassine Khenissi (Tunisia & Esperance)