Salah or Mane, who is Africa’s best player?
- CAF has released the shortlist for the Africa player of the year awards
- Salah and Mane are the front runners
- The Awards ceremony will be staged on July 21 in Morocco
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released the shortlist for this year’s Africa Player of the Year awards which will be staged in Rabat, Morocco on July 21.
Former Liverpool teammates Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are the front runners for the top award. The Awards return for the first time since 2019, when Mane won.
Mane who has since switched clubs and moved from Liverpool to Bayern Munich, is seen as the front runner to clinch the award for the second time in a row.
He has been hugely influential for his country, scoring the decisive penalty that clinched them their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon in February.
Mane also played a crucial role as Senegal secured a ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scoring the decisive penalty that saw them beat Egypt and earn a place in the flight to Qatar. In this year’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the striker has scored four goals in two matches.
Left Liverpool for Bayern
He left Liverpool having helped them clinch the FA and Carling Cup titles and also finished second in the English Premier League and also played a vital role as they reached the final of the Champions League.
In 262 Premier League matches, Mane has 111 goals and 47 assists and looks to make the same imprint when he returns to the Bundesliga with Bayern.
Salah meanwhile lost out to Mane in both national team campaigns, Senegal having beaten the Pharaohs both to the Africa Cup of Nations title and a place at the World Cup.
Also nominated for the top award include Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez who however didn’t earn much success at national team level.
Mane’s Senegal teammates goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and defender Kalidou Koulibaly have also been nominated same as Ivory Coast’s Sebastian Haller who was the top scorer in the Eredivisie with Ajax, the Cameroonian duo of Karl Toko Ekambi and skipper Vincent Aboubakar as well as PSG’s Achraf Hakimi.
Cisse leads the coach of the year list
Meanwhile, Senegal’s Aliou Cisse is the leading candidate for the coach of the year award, having led the Lions of Teranga to their maiden AFCON title as well as the ticket to the World Cup.
He will come up for stiff competition against Wydad Athletic Club’s Walid Ragragoui who led the Moroccan club to the Champions League title on his first season. He also led Wyadad to the Botola Pro title.
Pitso Mosimane, the man he beat to the CAF CL title as Ahly head coach has also been nominated despite having resigned as the tactician of the Egyptian Red Devils.
Tom Saintfiet who led the Gambia to the quarter finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on their debut has also been shortlisted, same as Egypt’s Carlos Queroz.
Other categories to be awarded include the InterCLub player of the year, young player of the yearas well as club of the year.
The Interclub player of the year list is dominated by Wydad and Ahly players, with Petro de Luanda’s Tiago Azulao being the only outsider, The Brazilian captain of the Angolan giants was the top scorer in the CAF Champions League.
The winners of each category will be decided by a voting panel made up of CAF Technical Committee, media professionals, Head Coaches & Captains of Member Associations and clubs involved at the group stage of the Interclub competitions for the 2021/22 season.
Full List of Nominees (in alphabetical order by Member Association):
Player of the Year (Men):
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City), Karl Toko Ekambi (Cameroon & Olympique Lyonnais), Vincent Aboubacar (Cameroon & Al Nassr), Sebastien Haller (Cote d’Ivoire & Ajax), Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool), Naby Keita (Guinea & Liverpool), Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Paris Saint-Germain), Edouard Mendy (Senegal & Chelsea), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli), Sadio Mane (Senegal & Bayern Munich)
Interclub Player of the Year (Men)
Tiago Azulao (Petro Atletico), Karim Konate (ASEC Mimosas), Aliou Dieng (Al Ahly), Ali Maaloul (Al Ahly), Percy Tau (Al Ahly), Mohamed Sherif (Al Ahly), Mohamed El Shenawy (Al Ahly), Achraf Dari (Wydad Athletic Club), Yahya Jabrane (Wydad Athletic Club), Zouheir El Moutaraji (Wydad Athletic Club).
Young Player of the Year (Men);
Dango Ouattara (Burkina Faso & Lorient), Karim Konate (Cote d’Ivoire & ASEC/RB Salzburg), Kamaldeen Sulemana (Ghana & Rennes), Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal & Metz), Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia & Manchester United),
Coach of the Year (Men)
Carlos Queiroz (Egypt), Pitso Mosimane (Al Ahly), Tom Saintfiet (The Gambia), Walid Regragui (Wydad Athletic Club), Aliou Cisse (Senegal)
National Team of the Year
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal
Club of the Year
Petro Atletico (Angola), Al Ahly (Egypt), RS Berkane (Morocco), Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco), Orlando Pirates (South Africa)