Mohamed Salah favourite to complete awards hat-trick

Wednesday January 3 2018

Mohamed Salah

Arsenal's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (left) saves a Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah pass during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 22, 2017. PHOTO| ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP 

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Liverpool star Mohamed Salah hopes to add the African Player of the Year award in Ghana Thursday to his rapidly expanding collection of individual honours.

The Egyptian, scorer of 23 goals in all competitions midway through his first season at Anfield, has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year and Arab Player of the Year.

Salah, Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Gabon are the contenders for the highest African individual football honour.

The scoring feats of Salah have installed him as the public and media favourite to succeed Algerian Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City as the number one African footballer.

Dortmund's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Dortmund's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. PHOTO | PATRIK STOLLARZ |AFP

"I want to be the best Egyptian footballer ever," said Salah after receiving the BBC award last month.


"When I came to Liverpool I hoped to show everyone my abilities. I scored a lot of goals with Roma and am very happy being successful at Liverpool."

Salah and Mane will leave Accra soon after the awards ceremony as Liverpool have a Friday night FA Cup third-round derby date with Everton.

However, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not hesitate to release his African duo for the Accra ceremony, which will include six other awards.

Liverpool's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (left) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during their English Premier League match against Hull City at Anfield on September 24, 2016. PHOTO | GEOFF CADDICK |

Liverpool's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (left) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during their English Premier League match against Hull City at Anfield on September 24, 2016. PHOTO | GEOFF CADDICK |AFP

"It is a sign of respect," he told reporters in Liverpool. "We sleep in a hotel and they sleep in a plane. That is the only difference."

Salah is a doubt for the Merseyside showdown, though, having missed the English Premier League victory at Burnley this week owing to a groin strain.

Should Salah be named Player of the Year, he will be only the second Egyptian after 1983 winner Mahmoud al Khatib to hoist the symbol of individual brilliance.


It would be the first time since 1986 that north Africans have won successive editions of the annual poll, which this year involved national coaches, journalists, officials and the public.

Morocco midfielder Mohamed Timoumi was the 1985 winner, followed by compatriot Badou Zaki, one of two goalkeepers to be voted the best African footballer.

Footballers from the west of the continent have dominated recently with Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast each winning four times. 

While Salah has made the top three for the first time, prolific Bundesliga scorer Aubameyang finished first once and second twice in the past three award ceremonies.

Mane came third last season, but his valuable input for Liverpool has been overshadowed by Salah, second in the Premier League scorers' charts behind Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur.

Contenders for 2017 Confederation of African football awards

Player of the Year

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB, Borussia Dortmund/GER), Sadio Mane (SEN, Liverpool/ENG), Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)

Women's Player of the Year

Chrestina Kgatlana (RSA, UWC Ladies), Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (CMR, CSKA Moscow/RUS), Asisat Oshoala (NGR, Dalian Quanjian/CHN)

Youth Player of the Year

Patson Daka (ZAM, Liefering/AUT), Krepin Diatta (SEN, Sarpsborg/NOR), Salam Giddou (MLI, Guidars)

Coach of the Year

Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Casablanca/MAR), Hector Cuper (EGY), Gernot Rohr (NGR)

Club of the Year

Al Ahly (EGY), TP Mazembe (COD), Wydad Casablanca

National Team of the Year

Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria

Women's National Team of the Year

Ghana U-20, Nigeria U-20, South Africa