By Owolabi Abiola/First zeal media
• Mohamed Salah performs cringe-worthy dance after accepting African Footballer of the Year award
• Egyptian Salah beat fellow nominees, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Egypt striker Mohamed Salah was voted as the African Footballer of the Year for the second successive year on Tuesday – but it was the Liverpool player’s cringe-worthy dancing on stage after accepting the award that is grabbing most of the attention.
Salah was confirmed as the continent’s best at the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) awards ceremony in Dakar. Hours earlier, his country had been awarded the hosting rights for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after the CAF had stripped original hosts Cameroon of the honour.
After graciously accepting the award on stage, Salah stood awkwardly alongside Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour and his band as they started to perform.
But after some encouragement, the Egyptian quickly found his dancing shoes and started joining in.
Salah beat fellow nominees, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, to the award.
He edged out the same two players last year in a vote decided the technical directors and head coaches of 56 CAF member associations.
“This award is very big for me, I love it because I saw it when I was young and I always had a dream to win it one day,” Salah said.
“I’m proud to win it twice, I must thank my family and my teammates, and I dedicate this award to my country, Egypt.”
In a record-breaking 2018, Salah notched both the PFA and Football Writers’ awards in England and was also named the Premier League’s best player after netting 44 times in all competitions last season.
He also helped Liverpool reach the 2018 Uefa Champions League final but suffered a shoulder injury during the 3-1 defeat Real Madrid in Kiev.
That injury raised doubts about his World Cup participation but he regained fitness to represent Egypt in the finals in Russia, scoring twice as they exited at the group phase. It was the Pharaohs’ first appearance at a global finals in 28 years.
Salah has carried that rich vein of form into the current campaign where his 13 goals have propelled Liverpool to the top of the Premier League, as they chase a first English title since 1990.
It is the third time an Egyptian player has claimed the crown, with Mahmoud El Khatib’s 1983 victory being the other occasion.
The other male awards went to France-born Morocco manager Herve Renard, the Mauritania national team, and Moroccan Achraf Hakimi in the youth category.
South African Chrestinah Kgatlana was voted Women’s Player of the Year and South Africa coach Desiree Ellis and the Nigeria national team were the other female winners.
The Goal of the Year award also went to Kgatlana.
Below is Africa Best XI