Salah, Mane, Aubameyang For CAF Top Award
Liverpool marksmen, Mohammed Salah (Egypt) and Sadio Mane (Senegal), will battle it out with Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) for the coveted African Player of the Year title when the 2017 Aiteo CAF Player of the Year Awards takes place at the Accra International Conference Centre on January 4, 2018.
The Egyptian, after winning this year’s BBC Africa Player of the Year prize, will be hoping to add the continent’s most prestigious award following a splendid season with Liverpool leading the national team to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup this term which has seen him score 20 goals in all competitions.
Mane has continued to impress this season at Liverpool and led the Teranga Lions to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while Aubameyang has maintained his reputation as one of the best strikers in Europe, having scored 21 times this term for Dortmund.
Yesterday, CAF held a ceremony in Accra at which the final three candidates for each award category was unveiled, with Ghana’s legend Samuel Osei Kuffour handed the honour of naming the candidates for the flagship African best player award.
However in a surprise but befitting tribute to another illustrious predecessor, Kuffour passed on the honour to 1971 African Best Footballer and compatriot Ibrahim Sunday, to announce Salah, Mane and Aubameyang as the final candidates for CAF’s three shortlist for Africa’s topmost individual soccer prize for 2017.
Earlier, Ghana Football Association President, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, who doubles as the first Vice-President of CAF, said everything had been put in place to ensure that the best organisation is put in place for next month’s ceremony in Accra.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah, in an address, also promised that Ghana would play perfect hosts to make the 2017 Aiteo CAF Awards at the Accra International Conference Centre the best ever celebration of African football’s achievements.
Mr Victor Okoronkwo, Senior Vice-President (Commercial and Gas) at Aiteo Energy Group, expressed his outfit’s commitment to ensure a change in the face of African football with a collaborative effort.
For his part, Dr Ahmad was full of gratitude to Aiteo Energy Group for agreeing to partner CAF at a very short notice as official sponsor of its annual awards.
In other categories, Egypt’s Argentine coach, Hector Cuper, Nigeria’s German coach Gernot Rohr and L’Hussein Amoutta of Wydad Casablanca will vie for the Coach of the Year, while the Club of the Year will be a straight fight between Al Ahly of Egypt, Confederation Cup winners T.P. Mazembe (DR Congo) and Champions League winners Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco).
Cameroun, Egypt and Nigeria will vie for the Men’s National Team of the Year.
Ghana’s only representation in the awards will be the national women’s U-20 team, Black Princesses, who will battle with Nigeria’s U-20 team and their South Africa counterparts for the Women’s National Team of the Year prize.
The African Women’s Player of the Year title is being contested by Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria), Christiana Kgatlana (South Africa) and Gabriella Onguene of Cameroun.
The Youth Player of the Year will see Krepin Diata (Senegal), Patson Daka (Zambia) and Salam Giddou (Mali) challenging for the accolade at the Awards Night.