Egypt striker Mohamed Salah has been named African Footballer of the Year for the second successive year at the Confederation of African Football’s 2018 awards ceremony in Dakar on Tuesday.
“I have dreamt of winning this award since I was a child and now I have done so twice in a row,” Salah said soon after receiving his trophy in Dakar.
“My thanks go to my family, my team-mates and my fans and I dedicate this trophy to my homeland, Egypt.”
Just as he did 12 months ago, Salah beat fellow nominees including Liverpool FC Senegalese teammate Sadio Mane and Gabon’s (and Arsenal) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to land the award.
It was an identical outcome to last year when Salah became only the second Egyptian after 1983 winner Mahmoud al Khatib to be voted the best footballer in Africa.
A poll of CAF’s national teams’ head coaches and technical directors, members of the governing body’s technical and development committee and a panel of media experts selected Salah as the continent’s outstanding footballer in 2018.
The Liverpool forward was also named in the Africa Best XI for 2018, along with Mane and Naby Keita.
He scored 44 times during a 2017-18 campaign in which he helped his club reach the Champions League final, before then netting twice at last summer’s World Cup.
Salah scored four goals in three Africa Cup of Nations qualification outings for his country in 2018 and a further 16 goals in 29 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool in 2018.
Salah completed a memorable day for Egyptian football, as the country beat sole rivals South Africa earlier Tuesday to decide which country hosted the 2019 Cup of Nations.
Memorable day for Egypt
Salah was born in the northern Egyptian town of Nagrig and used to make eight-hour return trips to train with Cairo-based El Mokawloon.
Spotted by scouts from Swiss club Basel, he moved there in 2012 before joining Premier League giants Chelsea two years later.
The Egyptian had his share of setbacks. Early in his career Salah found scoring difficult, resulting in him quitting Chelsea for Italian outfits Fiorentina and then Roma.
Salah blossomed in Rome, averaging close to a goal every two matches, and Liverpool paid almost €41 millionn (£37 million) to sign him two years ago.
South African Chrestinah Kgatlana was voted Women’s Player of the Year and South Africa coach Desiree Ellis and the Nigeria national team were the other female winners.
The Goal of the Year award also went to Kgatlana.