In a remarkable 2016 in which Leicester City were crowned champions of English football, the team’s star player and talisman Riyad Mahrez has won BBC’s African Footballer of the Year. It is another award to add to his collection after winning the PFA player of the year award in April. The winger becomes the second Algerian in three years to win the BBC award, joining the likes of Yaya Touré and Andre Ayew in winning the prestigious trophy.
Mahrez was back to his scintillating best at the weekend round of EPL fixtures helping Leicester to a 4-2 crushing of title hopefuls Manchester City. The team has struggled this season in the Premier League to show the form that saw them lift the title. However, they turned on the style against Manchester City, as Mahrez was at the heart of the good moments produced by the team’s attackers which included his Algerian colleague Islam Slimani.
Mahrez’s return to his best will be welcome news to Algerian fans who will be hoping he can spearhead their teams bid to win their first AFCON title since 1990. Would the Fennec Fox faithful swap the AFCON trophy for Mahrez winning the Ballon d’Or one wonders? Mahrez, along with Pierre Emerick Aubamayang are the only two Africans nominated for the award.