Football

Riyad Mahrez aims to retain African Player of the Year award

Riyad Mahrez aims to retain African Player of the Year award - Sports Leo

Riyad Mahrez inspired Algeria’s Les Fennecs to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title, quenching a thirst that had gone on for 29 years.

He did so as not only the skipper of the side but an integral part of the squad on and off the pitch.

Winner of the Confederation of African (Caf) African Player of the Year crown in 2016 when he was a core part of the Leicester City English Premier League title-winning team, Mahrez is seeking to add a second piece of individual success when he arrives in the Egyptian resort city of Hurghada for the Caf Awards 2019 on Tuesday.

In Algeria’s successful hunt for the elusive Afcon crown, Mahrez scored three goals, the biggest of those being his last-gasp free-kick against Nigeria in the semi-finals, a goal that has also been nominated for goal of the year. It was a stroke of genius from the Manchester City man, a goal that will be replayed for many more years by the lovers of football.

Les Fennecs were unstoppable in Cairo, starting off their hunt with a 2-0 victory over Kenya, Mahrez scoring one of the two. His second goal was in the 3-0 victory over Guinea in the round of 16.

With his club in Manchester, the year didn’t start as well as he would have wished as he found playing time tough to come by. But, thanks to his performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, Mahrez has now been used more by Pep Guardiola.

But despite the challenge of earning regular playing time, Mahrez still had his part to play as the Citizens won three domestic titles in England, clinching the 2018-19 Premier League title, the FA Cup and the League Cup.

For his part, Mahrez netted 15 times in all competitions in the successful season for City.

And on Tuesday, Mahrez has the opportunity to join El Hadji Diouf, Didier Drogba, Nwankwo Kanu and Mo Salah as some of the African stars to have won the award twice.

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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