Interestingly, there is only one nominee currently playing on the African soil, with the full list dominated by European-based players. Two-time winner Mohammed Salah of Liverpool and Egypt has once again made the cut, alongside his red hot Liverpool partner in crime Sadio Mane of Senegalese.
Algeria, the triumphant nation in the 2019 AFCON championship is represented by three players; Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, Youcef Belaili, and Ismail Bennacer.
Gabon and Arsenal front man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the winner of the 2015 edition has made it to the final list for the third time in the last four editions.
Ajax duo of Hakim Ziyech and Andre Onana are also among the finalists, with Napoli and Senegal’s dependable defender Kalidou Koulibally, and Nigerian Odion Ighalo completing the list.
The previous four editions have been won by English Premier League stars, with Mohammed Salah of Liverpool and Riyad Mahrez competing for each of the last 3. It doesn’t look any different in this year’s edition, with the tide already flowing towards another EPL sweep.
Sadio Mane who helped Liverpool to the European Champions League, and a second place finish in the EPL behind Manchester City is tipped to win this one. Mane has been on a prolific form since the start of 2019, emerging the league’s most prolific scorer alongside Salah and Aubameyang.
It was the first time in the history of the premier league that the golden boot was shared by three players of African descent. Remember you can bet on the EPL at Betway, with these stars always likely to score.
Mo Salah may have lost his pace going into the beginning of the 2019/20 season, but he has since rediscovered his goal-scoring form that has seen him score spectacular goals for his team both in the domestic league, as well as the UEFA Champions League.
Riyad Mahrez, a fixture in the recent editions, also has a strong claim in this year’s final. He helped City to the second EPL title in a row. City finished with 98 points, a point above Liverpool in what will go down as the most competitive EPL yet.
To add to his credentials, he led his Algerian team to the AFCON championship, scoring crucial goals on their way to the final, where they beat Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly’s Senegal.
Youcef Belaili of Al-Ahli and Algeria is the only player playing in the African continent to feature in the final list, which comes as no surprise, given the gap between top European sides and African teams.
It will, however, be viewed as a statement of intend from the African leagues going forward. If the likes of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Aubameyang, and Riyad Mahrez continue playing at the highest level, we might be seeing the same finalists in the coming years.
As Liverpool and Manchester City continue competing in all fronts, this sort of dominance will only fuel even more claims to feature the same faces for the African Footballer of the Year awards.
Betway continues to cover all EPL matches, as well as other matches from other leagues around the world.
©Zambia Reports 2020.