Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, 25 has been voted the overall winner of this year’s BBC African Footballer of the Year Award, this is the first time he has been shortlisted. Mohamed Salah says: “I am very happy to win this award. It’s always a special feeling when you win something. You feel like you did a great year, so I’m very happy. I would also like to win it next year!”
Presenter Mimi Fawaz announced Mohamed Salah as the winner during a special presentation broadcast during Focus on Africa programme on BBC World Service and BBC World News, as well as a special show on BBC BRIT. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp joined Fawaz at the club’s Melwood training academy to present Salah with the coveted trophy.
Fans voted online at BBC.com/AfricanFootball in record numbers this year for their favorites on the five-man shortlist. The 25-year-old Liverpool star beat Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Guinean Naby Keita, Sadio Mané of Senegal and Nigeria’s Victor Moses.
Salah, this season’s Premier League top scorer with 13 goals, has enjoyed a stellar year for both club and country.
In early 2017, he was the central figure for Egypt as they finished runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Later in the year, the pacey forward had a hand in all seven of the goals that took the Pharaohs to their first World Cup since 1990 – assisting two and scoring five, including the stoppage-time penalty against Congo that qualified them for Russia.
“I want to be the best Egyptian ever so I work hard,” added Salah, who has become the third Egyptian to win the award, and first since 2008.
After joining Liverpool from Roma in June, the start to his Anfield career could scarcely have gone better as he was named the club’s player of the month in August and September. A goal on his debut helped him rack up seven goals in his first 11 Premier League games, and he has fared even better in the Champions League, with five goals in six group games.
Salah now adds his name to a list of African legends, including Abedi Pele, George Weah, Jay-Jay Okocha and Didier Drogba, to have won the BBC African Footballer of the Year prize.
“I am very happy to be like them in winning this award,” said the Egyptian, who follows compatriots Mohamed Barakat (2005) and the legendary Aboutreika (2008) in receiving the trophy.”