Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been named CAF African Player of the Year for 2017. The Egypt forward scored the goal that secured his country a place at this year’s World Cup, while he has been in superb form since signing for the Reds. Salah has scored 23 goals for Liverpool already this season following his summer move from Roma. Club team-mate and Senegal international Sadio Mane came second, with Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang third, the Confederation of African Football announced at its gala dinner on Thursday night.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp allowed his two shortlisted players to attend the ceremony in Ghana despite his side playing Everton in the FA Cup on Friday. Salah will miss the game through a groin injury, but Mane could well play.
"This is a dream come true for me. 2017 was an unbelievable year for me with the Egypt national team and my clubs. To qualify to the World Cup after 28 years and to have a great season at Roma and Liverpool were special moments in my career", Salah said. He scored five goals in six games in the decisive qualifying round as Egypt sealed their place at the World Cup in Russia. "This award is a big award for me … it’s a special moment for me in my career", Salah added.
The award is traditionally voted for by the head coaches or technical directors of all Africa’s national teams, but this is the first year CAF allowed captains of those teams to also vote. Salah’s victory capped a clean sweep of the three main African football awards for Egypt. They won team of the year and their manager, Hector Cuper, Africa’s coach of the year.