Senegal’s Sadio Mane was crowned African Footballer of the Year for the second time running at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) awards ceremony in the Moroccan capital Rabat.
Mane scored the winning penalty as Senegal beat Egypt in a shootout in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations final to lift the trophy for the first time.
The awards returned for the first time in three years after being suspended by the coronavirus pandemic, with Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala also retaining the title she won in 2019.
“I am very, very happy to receive the trophy this year,” Mane, 30, said as he collected his prize.
Mane beat compatriot and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as well as former Liverpool team-mate Salah, whose Egypt side lost February’s final.
“I thank the Senegalese people, and dedicate this trophy to the youth of my country,” added Mane, who also helped Senegal reach the World Cup and won two domestic cups with Liverpool.
Mane’s prize was one of five picked up by Senegal in a total of seven men’s categories after a night to remember for the West African nation.
Long-standing Senegalese boss Aliou Cisse won coach of the year, with his side named men’s team of the year, while Pape Sarr was named young player of the year and another Senegalese, Pape Ousmane Sakho, won best goal for his overhead kick for Tanzanian side Simba.
“We waited a long time for this Nations Cup,” said Augustin Senghor, the president of Senegal’s football federation. “We are a good example to all those teams who have not yet won (the tournament).”
Sarr, who appeared just once during Senegal’s historic Nations Cup triumph, won an award previously lifted by Salah himself after his season on loan with French side Metz, so edging out Red Bull Salzburg’s Ivorian Karim Konate and Manchester United’s Tunisian Hannibal Mejbri.
A host of African football legends such as Daniel Amokachi, Lucas Radebe, Jay-Jay Okocha, Geremi Njitap and Senegalese duo El Hadji Diouf and Khalilou Fadiga – who celebrated on stage with Mane – were in attendance for the awards at the Mohamed VI complex.
African and Moroccan champions Wydad Casablanca took the club of the year prize for the second time in a row, while Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, whose Nations Cup ended early because of injury, was named the interclub player of the year.