Senegalese striker and Liverpool star Sadio Mane has been crowned as the 2019 African Player of the Year.
The 27-year old Senegalese striker claimed the top prize for the first time on Tuesday at the 2019 CAF Awards ceremony held in Egyptian seaside resort of Hurghada.
Mane beat his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah of Egypt who won the award the last two years, as well as Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City).
However, neither Salah nor Mahrez attended the event.
Giving his acceptance speech, Mane said, “I am really happy and at the same time I am really proud to win this award. It’s a big day for me.”
According to CAF statistics, the Senegalese scored 34 goals and made 12 assists in 61 appearances last year.
Mane has finished in the award’s top three for the last three years, and has long targeted the prize in order to emulate the achievement of one of his heroes, former Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf, who won it in 2002.
African best XI: Andre Onana (Ajax/Cameroon), Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund/Morocco), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli/Senegal), Joel Matip (Liverpool/Cameroon), Serge Aurier (Tottenham/Ivory Coast), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City/Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Paris St-Germain/Senegal), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax/Morocco), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt), Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal/Gabon)
The Nigerian forward Asisat Oshoala won the best African Female Footballer of the Year title.
Oshoala, who plays for Spanish side Barcelona, beat Ajara Nchout of Cameroon and South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana, who was crowned in Senegal last year, to claim the title.
It is the fourth time the 25-year-old is being crowned the best African female footballer.
She won the award in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and was also among the final three in 2018 but lost to her South African rival Kgatlana.
In the youth category, Morocco and Borussia Dortmund defender, Achraf Hakimi, was crowned the African Youth Player of the Year.
The 21-year-old beat Nigerian duo of Victor Osimhen (Lille) and Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) to claim the prize.
The Egyptian Football Association won the Federation of the Year award.