Sadio Mane is the 2022 African Player of the Year, emulating his idol El Hadji Diouf as the second Senegalese to win back to back awards.
The Senegalese forward, who inspired Senegal to their historic first Africa Cup of Nations title in February as well as guiding the Teranga Lions to this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, beat strong opposition from his countryman Edouard Mendy and former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah.
“I am so excited to win this award. There are so many players that deserved this award, but I have been chosen. I am honoured and I thank everyone for this,” he told CAF Online.
Thursday’s award was Mane’s second, having won in 2019 when the event was hosted and held in Hurghada, Egypt.
The 30-year-old Mane scored 23 goals for Liverpool in all competitions last season before moving to Bayern Munich in Germany this summer.
It was a big night for Senegal who also won National Team of the Year and for Aliou Cisse who was named the Coach of the Year. Simba’s Senegalese import Pape Sakho also walked away with the Goal of the Year.
Mane expressed his joy at this and said, “I cannot explain this. It is so far the best year of Senegalese football. To collect all these awards, you have to believe first. It was hard work and we never stopped dreaming. We continued working hard and finally we got it.”
Mane and Senegal will be hoping to continue this spirit in Qatar when they make their third appearance at the global showpiece.