Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has been named 2017 CAF African Player of the Year.
Salah takes home the award for the first time ever, as he managed to defeat competition from fellow finalists Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the awards ceremony in Accra, Ghana.
The 25-year-old turned in a stunning campaign for Liverpool in 2017 as he scored 23 goals in 29 games after joining the English Premier League side from AS Roma.
On the international scene he helped Egypt to a second place finish at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, including goals against Ghana and Burkina Faso. His brace against Congo in October, which included a stoppage-time penalty in a 2-1 win, helped the Pharaohs qualify for their first FIFA World Cup since 1990 to round off a sensational year.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) January 4, 2018
Aubameyang, meanwhile, scored an incredible 31 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions last term, but only managed to get his hands on the DFB-Pokal with Borussia Dortmund.
The CAF Player of the Year award was initially pared down to a shortlist of 24. From there, Salah, Aubameyang and Mane were named the three finalists in December.
The winner of the award was selected by the current coaches and captain from every men’s national team in Africa.
Salah’s Liverpool team-mate Sane finished second in the voting, with Dortmund star Aubameyang coming in third.
For the female category, Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala won her third Women’s Player of the Year prize, beating Cameroon’s Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and Chrestina Kgatlana of South Africa.
“It’s been truly an emotional journey through 2017,” an emotional Oshoala said after picking her award. “I must say this is one of the special moment in my career because when I left Arsenal and moved to China a lot of people said that, Asisat your career is going to be gone but I told myself that I can do this and I think I have done that. I want to use this opportunity to encourage all the young girls do not let anyone talk you down, don’t listen to anyone, just follow your heart.”