Sadio Mane 'honoured' to win second African Player of the Year award

Senegal forward beats Egypt's Mohamed Salah and compatriot Edouard Mendy to be crowned continent's best

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Sadio Mane said he was "honoured" to be crowned African Player of the Year for a second time.

The Senegal forward, 30, was named the continent's best player at an awards ceremony in Rabat on Thursday.

Mane first won the honour in 2019 while he was at Liverpool. He left the Premier League club last month after signing a three-year deal with Bayern Munich.

"I am really honoured and highly delighted to receive this award again," Mane said.

"Thanks to my coaches, my club and national team colleagues and those friends who stood by me during difficult times."

Mane was in the Moroccan capital to receive the award after a dash across the Atlantic having converted a penalty for his new club in a 6-2 pre-season friendly win over DC United in Washington on Wednesday.

It was the second successive continental player-of-the-year award for Mane after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the last two editions.

He won ahead of former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah from Egypt and fellow Senegal international and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Mane and Salah played pivotal roles last season with Liverpool, who lifted the FA Cup and English League Cup and finished runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

Salah has since signed a new contract at Anfield while Mane opted for a move, with Bayern reportedly paying a fee that could rise to €41 million.

The duo have engaged in an intense rivalry for their countries, with Salah's Egypt losing out to Mane and Senegal in epic matches in the Africa Cup of Nations final and World Cup finals eliminator.

Mane who came out of both encounters victorious. Senegal secured their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February when Mane converted from the spot to win a penalty shoot-out 4-2, after the match finished goalless after extra-time.

The two teams clashed again for a place in this year's World Cup finals in Qatar. Egypt won the first leg 1-0, thanks to Salah's goal, only for Senegal to repeat the scoreline in the second leg to send the match into another shoot-out. Once again it was left to Mane to score the decisive penalty as Senegal won the latest spot-kick duel 3-1 in Dakar.

Born in a village nearly 400 kilometres from Dakar, Mane attracted the attention of Metz having played for local second-tier club Generation Foot.

After enhancing his reputation at Salzburg in Austria, Mane joined Southampton, where his feats included scoring a record-breaking 176-second Premier League hat-trick against Aston Villa.

In mid-2016 the Senegalese signed for Liverpool and went on to form a fearsome front three with Salah and Brazilian Roberto Firmino.

Nigerian Asisat Oshoala won the Women's Player of the Year a record fifth time, overtaking compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha.

The 27-year-old Barcelona forward was forced to miss the ongoing Women's Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco due to an injury.

Updated: July 22, 2022, 3:13 AM
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