By CGTN’s Adel El Mahrouky
The African football player of the year awards are just around the corner and Egypt looks set to dominate the proceedings. The country has four nominations and could begin the year on a winning note.
“The Pharaohs” have endured many years of disappointment, but are now believed to be in their best shape in years – and the nominations of the 2017 CAF awards confirm that.
The country’s “Golden Boy” and Liverpool’s forward Mohamed Salah is the front-runner for the Best African Player of the year.
“During his last season in Serie A with AS Roma, Mohamed Salah gained immense experience,” Ahmed Abdel Bassit, a sports analyst, told CGTN.
“He scored 34 goals for them. He has sharpened his skills in the English Premiere League scoring 19 goals and making 6 assists this season. He’s gained enormous reputation and has fans everywhere now. England, they have even compared him to Lionel Messi.
“I think he deserves to be Africa’s Best Player.”
Mohammed Salah has not only delivered for his club, but also for his country. His Three years of absence in the African cup of nations have finally paid off after Egypt made it to the final last year – where his winning goal sent Egypt to their first world cup qualification since 1990.
Salah’s heroics have also put both the Egyptian National Team and its leader Hector Cuper in the final list for the best African National Team and Coach.
“From 2010 to 2017, the Egyptian national team appeared lost. Hector Cuper came to reform the team and lifted them up. He has reached the African cup of nations final and also qualified the team to the FIFA world Cup after 28 years. He has won Global Soccer’s best Africa Award, so definitely he’s a strong contender for the CAF awards,” Bassit said.
Critics believe that Egypt’s, and Africa’s, top club Al Ahly is the least likely to win this year.
“Al Ahly may not be as strong as Salah or Cuper in the awards this year. They didn’t win the CAF Champions League which puts them a step further from the award than the Moroccans,” Bassit added.
By just making it to the CAF awards finalists, Salah, Cuper, Al Ahly and The Pharaohs have been recognised for their outstanding performances in 2017. Egyptians will be thrilled if they win, particularly if Salah does, because he’ll be the first Egyptian to be recognised as the best footballer in Africa in four decades.