Riyad Mahrez wins 2016 African Player of the Year Award
Riyad Mahrez of Algeria and Leicester City polled 361 votes to win the 2016 African Player of the Year Award.
Ugandan goalie, Denis Onyango won the African Player of the Year – Based in Africa 2016, at the event held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mahrez, 25, becomes the first Algerian and the maiden North African to win the prestigious individual honour in African football since its inception by the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) in 1992.
The play-maker played an influential role in the historic Premier League title triumph by English club, Leicester City, last season and Algeria’s qualification to the Total Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017.
He dethroned last year’s winner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon who garnered 313 votes, whilst Senegalese forward, Sadio Mane placed a distant third with 186 votes.
The winner was decided by votes from the Head Coaches or Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF, members of the CAF Media Committee, members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee and a 20-member panel of experts.
For the African Player of the Year – Based in Africa, Onyango also wrote his name in African football folklore, by becoming the first goalkeeper to scoop the award designed to reward players who ply their trade on the continent.
The 31-year old, whose exploits in the posts was critical to Uganda’s qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time after a 39-year hiatus, and also starred in Mamelodi Sundowns’ conquest of Africa last year tallied 252 votes, 24 more than his club-mate, Khama Billiat of Zimbabwe. Zambian Rainford Kalaba finished third with 206 votes.
He beat 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Borrusia Dortmund who had 313 votes in second place, and Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool who was third with 186 votes.
Dennis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns and Uganda won the 2016 African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) Award.
In second place was Khama Billiat of Mamelodi Sundowns and Zimbabwe, while Rainford Kalaba of TP Mazembe and Zambia came third.
Uganda won the 2016 National Team of the Year Award by beating Senegal and DR Congo, while Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa won the 2016 Club of the Year Award.
The 2016 African club champions beat TP Mazembe of DR Congo and Zesco United of Zambia to the award.
The CAF Champions League winners’ coach, Pitso Mosimane, won the 2016 Coach of the Year Award, while Bakary Gassama of The Gambia won the 2016 Referee of the Year Award.
Laurent Pokou of Cote D’Ivoire won the 2016 African Football Legend Award, while the Football Leader of the Year Award went to Manuel Nascimento, the President of Guinea Bissau Football Federation.
NAN reports that Pokou who died last November was posthumously inducted together with Cameroonian Emilienne Mbango, one of the pioneers of women football on the continent.
While no Nigerian player made it to the final shortlist of three in the African Player of the Year Award category, Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala made the day for Nigerians.
Oshoala won the 2016 Women’s Player of the Year Award to cap an exciting year when she won the top scorer award at the Women’s AFCON in Cameroon.
The Arsenal Ladies FC player scored six goals in helping Nigeria to the African title, their eighth title from the competition’s past 10 editions.
She beat Elizabeth Addo of Kvarnsvedensik and Black Queens of Ghana, and Gabrielle Onguene of Rossyanka and Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon, to the award.
Her team, the Super Falcons, picked the 2016 Women’s National Team of the Year Award, beating Cameroon and South Africa in the process.
Arsenal FC and Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi also won the 2016 Youth Player of the Year Award, while Kelechi Iheanacho joined in making it a glorious night for Nigeria.
The Manchester City and Super Eagles forward won the 2016 Most Promising Talent of the Year Award.
Both Iwobi and Iheanacho also made it to the substitutes bench in the Africa Finest XI team, which had 11 starting players and seven substitutes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Awards organisers, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), also honoured President Muhammadu Buhari with the CAF 2016 Platinum Award.