Mohammed Salah of Egypt and Nigeria’s Azeezat Oshoala are the winners of African Player of the year award for Men and Women categories respectively.
Prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah and Nigeria’s Azeezat Oshoala were named African Player of the Year in the top male and female categories respective at Thursday’s ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre.
This award now makes Salah Mohammed the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al-Khatib in 1983.
The 25-year-old has been in top form for both his club and country in the period under review scoring a massive 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions this season for the Premier League outfit after moving from AS Roma in the summer.
He also starred for resurgent Egypt that finished runners-up in the Africa Cup of Nations and also secured a first World Cup appearance since 1990.
“Winning this award is a dream come true — 2017 was an unbelievable year for me I had a fantastic time with the national team,” said Salah after receiving the trophy.
“This is a big award for me, a special moment in my career. I would like to dedicate it to all the kids in Africa and Egypt.
“I want to tell them to never stop dreaming, never stop believing.”
On her part, Oshoala has also been in top form for her club even though she has been rendered redundant as far as national team duties are concerned.
Following her surprise move from Arsenal to Dalian Quanjian in February 2017, Oshoala took China by storm, leading her team to a league and cup double.
This is the third time that the former Liverpool and Arsenal Ladies forward is been voted as best on the continent.
She broke down into tears after receiving the award and said: “When I left Arsenal to China, people said my career was over. Here I am winning this award once again.
“To all the young girls out there, don’t let anyone talk you down. Always follow your dreams.”
Salah’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, of Senegal, was runner-up and 2015 winner, Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang third after a 30-player list had been trimmed to three.
Salah also succeeds Algerian Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City as holder of the most prized CAF individual award.
National coaches, Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials, journalists and the public were involved in the voting.
It is the first time since 1986 that stars from the north of the continent, which along with the west is the strongest football region, have won successive titles.
Victory on Thursday completed an awards hat-trick for Salah, who was named BBC African Footballer of the Year in December and Arab Player of the Year earlier this week.
Mane was voted 2016-2017 Liverpool Player of the Season, but the 25-year-old has since been overshadowed at Anfield by Salah’s scoring exploits.
He did stand out for Senegal, however, as they secured a first World Cup appearance since 2002, providing much of the creativity in a team stacked with physically formidable footballers.
Aubameyang was Bundesliga top scorer with 31 goals last season, holding off Bayern Munich and Poland ace Robert Lewandowski.
He flopped with Gabon, though, failing to take the 2017 Cup of Nations hosts past the first round and shunning several World Cup call-ups as Gabon failed to qualify.
South Africa’s Women National team, Bayana Bayana, won the Women’s National Team of the Year award ahead of Nigeria’s U-20 female team, the Falconets.
In men’s category, the Egyptian national team was voted as the continent’s best ahead of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania was the winner of the Leader of the Year Award while Ibrahim Sunday was the winner of the Legend Award.
The Club of the Year Award was won by Moroccan side, Wydad Casablanca.
For the Coach of the Year Award, Hector Cuper of Egypt beat Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr to the top prize.
Patson Daka was voted the Youth Player of the Year.
CAF President Ahmed Ahmad also presented the Platinum Award to Ghana’s Head of state Nana Akufo-Addo and the Liberia President-elect, George Weah
Men’s Player of the Year Award: Mohamed Salah (WINNER), Sadio Mane (Senegal) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
Coach of the Year Award: Gernot Rohr, Hector Cuper(WINNER),, L’hussein Amoutta.
National Team of the Year award: Cameroon, Egypt (WINNER), Nigeria.
Women’s National Team of the Year award: Ghana U20, Nigeria U20, South Africa (WINNER),
Women’s Player of the Year Award: Asisat Oshoala (WINNER), Chrestina Kgatlana (Banyana) and Gabrielle Onguene (Cameroon).