Former Senegal international El Hadji Diouf believes there is no reason why compatriot and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane should not win this year’s African footballer of the year.
Diouf who is a two time African footballer of the year winner having clinched the converted award in 2001 and 2002, insists Mane has worked hard enough to deserve the gong.
As far as the former Rennes star whose goal against France in the 2002 World Cup remains a reference point is concerned, Mane had a wonderful season and the award will be a befitting way of crowning that effort.
“I am a thousand percent convinced of the coronation of Sadio [Mane],” Diouf told Senegal Press Agency.
“Sadio Mane has had a successful season to claim the title of best African footballer [award]. I am very proud of what he did and if it was up to me, a Senegalese will win the title,” he enthused
Mane who was impressive for Taranga Lions despite the team’s failure to win the Nations cup in Egypt has thrice been named on the final list, but has never been crowned the best player on the African continent.
At the last one held in Dakar, Senegal, homeboy Mane garnered 440 points to finish second behind teammate and eventual winner Mohammed Salah who got 567 votes.
Arsenal forward and Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished in the third place just like he did in the 2017 edition with 197 points.
Aubameyang this time missed the chance to make the top three as Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez joined the Liverpool duo to make the top three. The continent’s best player will be named in Hurghada Egypt today.
Salah has been named Africa’s best footballer in the past two years with Mane coming second on both occasions, while Mahrez won the 2016 title, a year when Mane was the third best. Mane is however not the only one facing a challenge in his quest to win the converted award.
Taranga Lions coach Aliou Cisse who to the team to the final in Egypt is also in the running for coach of the year against Algeria’s Djamel Belmad.
Both coaches slugged it out in the finals of the Nations cup at the Cairo international stadium July 19 with Algeria running away with a lone goal by Baghdad Bounedjah in the 2nd minute of the match.