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Mane beats Salah to win African Player of the Year award

25 Jul 2022 | 08:45 | Football

Sadio Mane (L) receives the Men’s Player of the Year award from CAF President Patrice Motsepe during the 2022 African Football Confederation (CAF) Awards on July 21, 2022. Photo: AFP

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Sadio Mane (L) receives the Men’s Player of the Year award from CAF President Patrice Motsepe during the 2022 African Football Confederation (CAF) Awards on July 21, 2022. Photo: AFP

Sadio Mane was awarded the African Player of the Year award at Rabat on Thursday for the second time.

The Senegal forward won the honor for the first time in 2019 while he was at Liverpool.

“My only criticism of Sadio is that maybe sometimes he’s the only one who doesn’t realize how good he is.”

Jurgen Klopp, head coach of Liverpool

The 30-year-old left the Premier League club last month after signing a three-year contract with Bayern Munich.

“I’m really honored and delighted to receive this award again,” Mane said.

The winners pose on stage at the 2022 African Football Confederation (CAF) Awards on July 21, 2022, in the Moroccan capital Rabat. Photo: AFP

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The winners pose on stage at the 2022 African Football Confederation (CAF) Awards on July 21, 2022, in the Moroccan capital Rabat. Photo: AFP

“Thank you to my coach, my club and national team colleagues, and the friends who have stood by me through this difficult time.”

Mane was in the Moroccan capital to claim the award after crossing the Atlantic to convert a penalty for his new club in a 6-2 pre-season friendly win over DC United in Washington on Wednesday.

Gnabry celebrates after scoring their team’s third goal against Mane during a pre-season friendly between DC United and Bayern Munich at Audi Field on July 20, 2022 in Washington. Photo: AFP

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Gnabry celebrates after scoring their team’s third goal against Mane during a pre-season friendly between DC United and Bayern Munich at Audi Field on July 20, 2022 in Washington. Photo: AFP

This is the second consecutive Continent’s Player of the Year award for Mane after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the last two tournaments.

He won against former Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah from Egypt, the Senegal international and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Mane and Salah played key roles last season with Liverpool, who lifted the FA Cup and League Cup, and finished second in the Premier League and Champions League.

Salah signed a new contract at Anfield while Mane opted to move, with Bayern reportedly paying an initial €32 million ($32.5 million) that could rise to €41 million.

The transfer fee is a far cry from the €4 million that Red Bull Salzburg paid Metz in 2012 when Mane first arrived in Europe.

Decide the punishment

In February, Mane scored a decisive fifth penalty to help Senegal to a 4-2 win over Egypt and its first African Cup of Nations title after the final ended 0-0. -0 in Yaounde.

A month later, Mane was again the winner of the penalty shootout against Egypt, this time in the World Cup play-offs near Dakar after a 1-1 draw.

Salah didn’t get a chance to score a penalty in the deciding Cup of Nations match while he netted Egypt his first in the play-offs to secure a place in the World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday. this November for Senegal.

Born in a village nearly 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Dakar, Mane caught Metz’s attention while playing for local second-tier club Generation Foot.

After enhancing his reputation at Salzburg, Mane joined Southampton, where he achieved the remarkable feat of scoring a Premier League-record 176 seconds hat-trick against Aston Villa.

In mid-2016, the Senegal international signed for Liverpool and went on to form a formidable trio with Brazilian Salah and Roberto Firmino.

When Mane moved to Bayern, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “My only criticism of Sadio is that maybe sometimes he’s the only one who doesn’t realize how good he is.”

Nigerian Asisat Oshoala won the Women’s Player of the Year award for the fifth time, beating compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha.

The 27-year-old Barcelona forward was forced to miss the African Women’s Championship in Morocco due to injury.

tcecsport