Sadio Mané named African Footballer of the Year again
The Bayern star scored the decisive penalty to win Senegal’s first Africa Cup of Nations and qualify for the World Cup. Former team mate Mo Salah came second.
Sadio Mané was named African Footballer of Year on Thursday after a season in which he kicked the winning penalty for Senegal as they claimed their first Africa Cup of Nations title and repeated the feat when they secured World Cup qualification, beating Egypt in another shootout. Mané finished ahead of Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, his former Liverpool team mate, and fellow Senegalese Edouard Mendy in the voting.
It was the second time the 30-year-old Mané, who last month joined German champions Bayern Munich, has won the award. He was the last winner of the award in 2019. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) did not hold it during the last two years due to the pandemic and has now changed to recognising accomplishments over the whole season rather than the calendar year.
Mané converted the winning penalty in February as Senegal beat Egypt in the Cup of Nations final in Yaounde, proving the talisman as his country took a first ever African title. Six weeks later, he struck the decisive spot-kick as Senegal again edged Egypt in a penalty shootout to win a place at the World Cup finals in Qatar. He overshadowed Salah on both occasions, although the pair shared success with Liverpool in the FA Cup and EFL Carabao Cup and helped them reach the Champions League final. Mané also finished ahead of Salah in the 2019 voting.
Salah, 30, won the award in 2017 and 2018 with Mané second on both occasions. “I dedicate this award to the youth of Senegal. I’m very emotional and don’t have the words to express how I’m feeling,” Mané told the audience at the CAF awards in Rabat after flying in from Washington DC, where he scored in a pre-season friendly for his new club on Wednesday. Mendy, who plays for Chelsea, was named the best goalkeeper in the world at FIFA’s 2021 award, held in January.