Glo-CAF Awards: Mahrez Thanks All After Winning African Ballon d’or
Algeria and Leicester City player, Riyad Mahrez was full of gratitude to all Africans who made it possible for him to clinch the most prized award in the continent’s football; African Player of the Year award.
The 25-year-old Algerian star dethroned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the 2015 award winner with a total of 361 votes from national team coaches and technical directors in Africa. Aubameyang got 313,while third finisher Sadio Mane could only pull 186 votes.
Mahrez, who in December last year won the BBC African Player of the Year award, was decorated with his new honour at a CAF gala put together by the sponsor, Nigeria’s telecommunications company, Globacom.
After the ceremony Thursday’s night, Mahrez who becomes the first Algeria to win the prize since legendary Rabah Madjer in 1987 twitted to thank all his fans across the world, saying “African Ballon d’or … I thank everyone who supported me around Africa and around the world.”
Though they were dumped out of the flagship award, Nigerian players were not left out in the list of those whose outstanding performance on the continent were recognized during the award gala.
Alex Iwobi, Super Eagles star, who plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League was named Youth Player of the Year. Iwobi described the honour bestowed on him with the award as a glorious one, saying on his Twitter handle that “Honoured To Be Awarded The CAF Youth Player Of The Year In 2016. Hoping For More Success In The Future.”
Another Eagles player, who is with Manchester City of London, Kelechi Iheanacho won Most Promising Talent award. He won the same award in 2013. Iheanacho was pleased with the honour, he too took to the twitter to express his appreciation. “Pleased to be named the @caf_online most promising talent of the year 2016 #Godisthegreatest,” he twitted early on Friday.
Asisat Oshoala of the Super Falcons and Arsenal’s women team won the Women’s Player of the Year award for the second time. She won it two years ago. Nigeria’s Super Falcons are the Women’s National Team of the Year after winning their 8th AFCON Title.
In the other awards announced at the colourful gala in the capital city of Abuja, Manuel Lopes Nascimento is voted Football Leader of the Year. Dennis Onyango of Uganda and Mamelodi Sundowns won the African Player of the Year – Based in Africa award. Bakary Papa Gassama of Gambia was Named Referee of the Year again. Pitso Mosimane of Mamelodi Sundowns clinched the Coach of the Year award. The CAF Champions League winners, Mamelodi Sundowns were named African Club of the Year, while the Cranes of Uganda was voted National Team of the Year