• Iheanacho, Iwobi, Oshoala also winners
Leicester City and Algeria forward, Riyad Mahrez, was last night voted CAF African Footballer of the Year 2016.
The 25-year old forward who was part of Claudio Ranieri’s army at Leicester City that did the unimaginable, winning the English Premier League last season stood among the three nominees for the continent’s best player category in terms of achievement.
It therefore was no surprise when his name was mentioned as Africa’s Best Player for the next one year. Winner of the last edition of the award, Gabon and Borussia Dortmund star, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, took consolation in the runner up position with Senegal and Liverpool star, Sadio Mane, in the third placed.
In his acceptance speech, the France-born Mahrez dedicated the award to his family and team mates at Leicester City who made the feat possible.
“It’s a huge honour, I am happy and pleased. I thank all my teammates at Leicester and Algeria.
“I dedicate this to my family and all those who support me every day,” he noted.
Mahrez polled 361 votes to beat Aubameyang (313 votes) to the crown while Mane was a distant third on 186 votes.
Mahrez played a key role in the stunning run of ‘The Foxes’ – 17 goals, 10 assists in 37 appearances.
He was the first Algerian to win a Premier League winners’ medal and spark a massive following back home in Algeria for the club, who he had first thought was a rugby club when he was contacted to join them four years ago.
All three players who made the short list for the African Footballer of the Year were also picked in CAF XI that also feature Cote d’Ivoire defender, Eric Bailly, from Manchester United.
Goalkeeper Denis Onyango was picked for the African Player of the Year Based in Africa ahead of Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Khama Billiat and Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba.
Onyango was outstanding when seven-time South African champions Sundowns won an historic CAF Champions League and also when Uganda qualified for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations after a long absence.
Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala grabbed her second African Women’s Player of the Year award on the back of her goals and five-star displays as Nigeria retained their continental crown in Cameroon.
The Arsenal Ladies star won her first when she also helped the Super Falcons emerge African champions in 2014.
Other Nigerians honoured last night include; Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi who emerged the Most Promising Talent and Youth Player of the Year award winners, respectively.
Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama won the Best Referee Award for the third straight year.
ALL THE WINNERS
AFRICAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
AFRICAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Based In Africa)
Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Arsenal Ladies)
MOST PROMISING TALENT
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)
YOUTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
Pitso Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
CLUB OF THE YEAR
NATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR
WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR
REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Bakary Papa Gassama