Algerian striker Riyad Mahrez was named the African Player of the Year for 2016 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday night at a glitzy awards gala in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mahrez beat 2015 winner and Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon into second place, with Liverpool’s Senegalese winger Sadio Mané taking the prize for third best. Asisat Oshoala of The Super Falcons and Arsenal was announced Women’s Player of the Year.
The Leicester City attacker was a key member of the squad that made English Premier League history in the 2015-16 season, winning the title ahead of the usual suspects such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, while defying 5000-1 odds.
The Foxes benefitted from Mahrez’s mesmerising skill and eye for goal.
The Foxes benefitted from Mahrez’s mesmerising skill and eye for goal, with the 25-year-old scoring 17 goals on the road to English top-flight victory.
His efforts throughout that special season, as well as his contribution to the Algerian national team have been recognised with the 25th African Player of the Year accolade.
Four goals in UEFA Champions League action for Leicester thus far during the current campaign show his worth in Europe’s premier club competition for the inexperienced English outfit, but his focus must surely be on his next national team assignment later this month.
Mahrez is an important member of the Fennec Foxes’ attacking line-up, and this individual prize will certainly boost his confidence ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, when his North African side will be among the favourites to become African champions.
The striker can build on his PFA Player of the Year and African Player of the Year award wins by top scoring at the AFCON, while the ultimate dream would be to lead his team to Nations Cup glory in Gabon.