Having recently been named BBC’s African Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah took a step towards winning another big one today when, along with teammate Sadio Mané and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he was announced as one of the final three for the CAF award.
Between the the two big awards, CAF Player of the Year award and the BBC’s offering, it is the CAF’s that is more prestigious, being voted on by CAF coaches and technical directors along with a small list of experts from the media. The BBC’s award, meanwhile, is a van voted honour.
It’s not dissimilar to there being a PFA Player of the Year award in England based on player vote and another based on fan vote—both hold value, and are for most the top two awards available, but it’s the one voted on by those within the game that is seen to carry more prestige in the winning.
Last season, Riyad Marez won the award—with Aubameyang and Mané finishing second and third respectively. This season, most expect the same order for the runners-up and for Salah to take top honours after his stunning year for both Egypt and his two clubs over the period, Liverpool and Roma.
If Salah does win it, he would be the second Egyptian to be voted Africa’s Player of the Year by coaches and technical directors, with Mahmoud El Khatib winning the France Football edition of the award in 1983, before the CAF took over with their own official award.
He would also be the second player to win the award while at Liverpool, as in 2002 El Hadji Diouf received the award in large part due to a strong showing at the 2002 World Cup and before that with Lens in Ligue 1 in the second half of the 2001-02 season.