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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Liverpool star Sadio Mane capped an incredible 2019 by being crowned Africa's Player of the Year at an awards ceremony in Egypt on Tuesday.
The Senegalese attacker, 27, edged out clubmate Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian superstar who has won the award for the past two years, and Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez, who plies his club football with Manchester City.
"I am really happy and at the same time I am really proud to win this award," said Mane at the ceremony organised by the Confederation of African Football in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Hurghada.
"It's a big day for me."
Mane became only the second player from Senegal to win Africa's Player of the Year after former Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers winger El Hadji Diouf, who was named the continent's best player in 2001 and 2002.
Mane enjoyed a stellar 2019, scoring 34 goals and produced 12 assists in 61 appearances in 2019, according to Confederation of African Football (CAF) statistics.
Salah's tally stood at 26 goals and 10 assists in 55 matches while Mahrez accounted for 14 goals and 18 assists in 48 games last year, the CAF said.
Mane helped Senegal reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, where they lost to Algeria 1-0. Mane notched four goals in 11 Senegal appearances in 2019.
Mane was one of three African players - Salah and Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were the other two - to share the 2018/19 Premier League Golden Boot award with 22 goals.
"I would love to thank all the Senegalese people. They have been for me all the time, they push me," said Mane, extending sincere gratitude to people from his village Bambali.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino as well as former Argentina international midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron and Brazil's Cafu attended Tuesday's event.
Some of Africa's former star players including Senegal's Diouf, Egypt's Ahmed Hassan and Algeria's Rabah Madjer were also at the ceremony.
Neither Salah nor Mahrez, who was playing for Manchester City, scoring in the 3-1 League Cup first-leg win over Manchester United, were present.
Algeria dominated the rest of the male awards, with Djamel Belmadi picking up coach of the year, Youcef Belaili best player for African Interclubs and Algeria's national team after claiming a second Afcon trophy following their win over Senegal in the Cairo final last summer.
The award for the youth category was given to Morocco's Achraf Hakimi of Borussia Dortmund.
Female awardees included Nigerian Asisat Oshoala, who won the African Women's Player of the Year prize for the fourth time.
South African national team manager Desiree Ellis was also voted top coach for the second consecutive year.
Cameroon's women's team was selected as the continent's best after reaching the last 16 of the World Cup.
The Egyptian Football Association also won the Federation of the Year award.
The CAF Team of the Year featured Salah, Mane and Aubameyang as well as Mahrez and Ajax duo Andre Onana and Hakim Ziyech.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrissa Gueye was included alongside Senegal teammate Kalidou Koulibaly, with Hakimi, Joel Matip and Serge Aurier also selected.
Updated: January 8, 2020 09:40 AM
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