Senegalese forward Sadio Mane has won the 2019 CAF African Player of the Year award.
He beats Liverpool’s teammate Mohammed Salah and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez to win the award at the annual awards ceremony staged in Hurghada on Tuesday.
Mane has been a finalist in the previous three editions of the CAF Player of the Year, but in all those instances, he never went back home with the coveted piece of silverware.
Mane was Senegal’s main man at the 2019 AFCON where he netted three goals on the Teranga Lions’ path to the final where they lost by a solitary goal to Algeria. He netted a brace in the 3-0 group phase victory over Kenya and added one more in the round of 16 1-0 win over Uganda.
He was also a vital part of the team as they beat Benin and Tunisia in the quarters and semis respectively, his influence playing a big role in Senegal’s run to the final.
For his club Liverpool, Mane was just as sensational as he was for Senegal as he played another crucial role aiding them to the UEFA Champions League title for the first time since 2005.
The forward scored crucial goals, key among them a double over Bayern Munich in a 3-1 victory in the round of 16 and once in the aggregate 6-1 win over Porto in the quarter-finals as the Reds steamrolled into the final and ultimately bag the Champions League title.
In the English Premier League, Mane shared the Golden Boot crown with Salah and Arsenal’s Gabonese front-man Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, all three having netted 22 times for their respective clubs. On top of that, Mane scored 39 goals across all competitions for Liverpool in the 2018-2019 season.
The forward kept his form into the new campaign and in the season-opening UEFA Super Cup, Mane scored twice in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, a game they ultimately won 5-4 on penalties to pick up yet another trophy.
At the just concluded FIFA Club World Cup in Doha, Qatar, Mane laid up the assist for Roberto Firmino’s winning goal in the final against Flamengo. The Senegalese hitman was also in the top five for the Ballon d’Or, a crown ultimately won by Argentine wizard Lionel Messi.