Liverpool and Senegal star Sadio Mane would be a worthy winner of the 2019 Africa Player of the Year award, according to El Hadji Diouf.
The 27-year-old has been in sensational form in 2018-19, scoring 22 goals in 36 games, to help the Reds finish as runners-up in the Premier League.
Mane’s sublime performances earned him a number of individual accolades, including a share of the Premier League top scorer prize – alongside his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – and player of the month for March.
He is expected to lead the Reds’ charge for the Champions League title against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, and Diouf – who was named Africa’s best twice – has tipped his compatriot to dethrone Salah as the best player in Africa.
“Seriously, [Sadio] Mane is a very fantastic player, very fast and nobody can predict what he can do on the pitch. Now is his time,” Diouf told Goal.
“He had a great season winning the Premier League golden boot and helping his team reach the Champions League final. In contention for the crown are holders, [Mohamed] Salah and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang who shared the Premier League top scorer award. Don’t forget there is a certain Hakim Ziyech who had a great season with Ajax.
“With the Africa Cup of Nations taking place very soon, it is easy to say it will be a contest between Salah and Mane, especially if they win the Champions League with Liverpool. But really, I think that Mane will win it. It is going to be a reward for his wonderful season in the Champions League and the Premier League.”
Mane finished as runner-up behind Salah in the last two editions of the award while finishing in third place in 2016, behind Riyad Mahrez and Aubameyang.