Super Falcons regain top spot at AITEO/CAF Awards
… As Salah retains Men’s African Player of the Year
Nine – time African champions, Nigeria’s Super Falcons continued their dominance in African football when they emerged the Women’s National Team of the Year at the 2018 AITEOCAF African Football Awards held on Goree Island, near Dakar on Tuesday night.
It was the fourth time the Super Falcons would pick up the prestigious award, following earlier wins in 2010, 2014 and 2016. In December 2018 in Ghana, Nigeria’s Women National Team, Super Falcons won the Women Africa Cup of Nations for the third successive time and ninth time overall.
For the second year running, the bog occasion for rewarding performers in the game on the African continent was bankrolled by Nigeria’s leading energy solution company, AITEO – also the Official Optimum Partner of the Nigeria Football Federation.
Also, on the award night, Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah defeated fellow teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-emerick Aubameyang to retain the Men’s African Player of the year award for 2018.
The Egyptian striker was voted as the African Footballer of the Year for the second successive year at the Confederation of African Football’s awards ceremony in Dakar on Tuesday night.
He edged the same two players last year in a vote decided by the technical directors and head coaches of 56 CAF member associations.
“This award is very big for me, I love it because I saw it when I was young and I always had a dream to win it one day,” Salah said when collecting his trophy for his 2018 exploits.
“I’m proud to win it twice, I must thank my family and my team mates, and I dedicate this award to my country, Egypt.”
Salah helped Liverpool reach the 2018 Champions League final but suffered a shoulder injury during the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev.
That injury raised doubts about his World Cup participation but he regained fitness to represent Egypt in the finals in Russia, scoring twice as they exited in the first round.
Salah has scored 13 Premier League goals this season to guide Liverpool to the top of the standings.
It is the third time an Egyptian player has claimed the crown, with Mahmoud El Khatib’s 1983 victory being the other occasion.
Two Heads of Government, in President Macky Sall of Senegal and President George Weah of Liberia, turned up, joined by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF President Ahmad, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura ( a Senegalese), CAF 1st Vice President/nff President Amaju Pinnick, CAF 2nd Vice President Constant Omari and CAF 3rd Vice President Fouzi Lekjaa.
There was also the full complement of the membership of CAF Executive Committee, legends of the game from across the African continent, members of the diplomatic corps and world-renowned artistes who put up magnificent performances.
Pinnick picked up the Super Falcons’ award, presented by four –time winner of the Woman Player of the Year, Perpetua Nkwocha. Nigeria legends Emmanuel Amuneke (winner of the Player of the Year in 1994), Nwankwo Kanu (winner in 1996 and 1999), Victor Ikpeba (winner in 1997) and the daughter of late Rashidi Yekini (winner in 1993) joined the Legends XI parade that also included President Weah (the 1995 World, European and African Player of the Year), Patrick Mboma (Cameroon), El Hadj Diouf (Senegal), Frederick Kanoute (Mali), Didier Drogba (Cote d’ivoire), Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroon) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt).
Full list of winners
Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
Women’s Player of the Year: Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Houston Dash)
Youth Player of the Year: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmunmd)
Men’s Coach of the Year: Herve Renard (Morocco)
Women’s Coach of the Year: Desiree Ellis (South Africa)
Men’s National Team of the Year: Mauritania
Women’s National Team of the Year: Super Falcons, Nigeria
Platinum Award: His Excellency Macky Sall (President of the Republic of Senegal)
Federation President of the Year: Fouzi Lekjaa
Goal of the Year: Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Houston Dash)