SAN FRANCISCO, January 02, (THEWILL) – Reigning Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah; Senegalese player, Sadio Mane and Gabonese player, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, have made the top three list for the 2018 awards.
CAF made this revelation on Tuesday on their website saying the three players were the top three finalists for last year’s awards.
The Player of the Year will be unveiled at the Awards Gala on 8 January 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.
In a statement, CAF said that “Aubameyang had maintained his stand amongst the top three finalists since 2014, thus five times in a row and equaling the record of Ivorian legend Yaya Toure and Ghanaian midfield supremo Michael Essien. Four-time Player of the Year, Toure, achieved the feat (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and Essien (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). The 29-year old will be hoping to lay his hands on the enviable crown a second time.
“Salah, 26, made history becoming the first Egyptian to be decorated Player of the Year since the inception of the awards scheme in 1992. It is the second time, he has made the final three and Salah has his eyes set on joining the elite league of players to win the honour back-to-back. Senegalese El Hadji Diouf (2001, 2002), Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon (2003, 2004) and Toure (2011, 2012) are the only three to win successive titles.
“It is a hat-trick for 26-year old Mane in the top three, coming third in 2016 and second in 2017. He will be hoping to be third time lucky and become the second Senegalese to win the topmost individual honour after Diouf.”
In the same vein, Nigerian duo of Asisat Oshoala and Francisca Ordega, and South African Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana have made the final three for the Women’s Player of the Year 2018.
The three made the cut after a performance-filled year in which they made headlines at both club and national levels.
In a statement on its website, CAF revealed that “Oshoala, winner for the past two years with three titles overall (2014, 2016, 2017) has her sights on a fourth title, to equal the feat of compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha (2004, 2005, 2010, 2011). The 24-year old helped Nigeria to successively defend their title during the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana last December.
“Still on Nigeria, Ordega earned herself cult status following her exploits at the AWCON and in the USA, where she plays for the Washington Spirit. The 25-year old wowed fans with her pacy runs from the wings as Nigeria cruised to the title.
“South African forward Kgatlana, 22, was the star of the last AWCON, scooping the Most Valuable Player and Top scorer accolades as Banyana Banyana reached the final. This is her second nomination at this level and she hopes to become the second South African after Noko Matlou (2008) to be crowned ‘Queen’ of African football.”