…Oshoala won the 2016 Women’s Player of the Year
…Buhari honoured with the CAF 2016 Platinum Award
Thursday’s night was like pulling a winning goal in a world cup final for the Algeria and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez who was crown 2016 African Best of the Year.
The Algerian play-maker polled 361 votes to dethroned Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who pulled 313 votes, whilst Senegalese forward, Sadio Mane placed a distant third with 186 votes.
It was the first time the Algeria international was nominated, and turned the tables against the Gabonese at Thursday’s CAF gala in Abuja. The sparkling run of form for his English Premier League side and Algeria’s qualification to the Total Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 were a major pointer to his victory.
Mahrez, 25, becomes the first Algerian and the maiden North African to win the prestigious individual honour in African football since its inception by the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) in 1992.
He played an influential role in the historic Premier League title triumph by English club, Leicester City, last season.
The winner was decided by votes from the Head Coaches or Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF, members of the CAF Media Committee, members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee and a 20-member panel of experts.
For the African Player of the Year – Based in Africa, Ugandan goalie, Denis Onyango also wrote his name in African football folklore, by becoming the first goalkeeper to scoop the award designed to reward players who ply their trade on the continent.
While no Nigerian player made it to the final shortlist of three in the African Player of the Year Award category, Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala made the day for Nigerians.
Oshoala won the 2016 Women’s Player of the Year Award to cap an exciting year when she won the top scorer award at the Women’s AFCON in Cameroon.
The Arsenal Ladies FC player scored six goals in helping Nigeria to the African title, their eighth title from the competition’s past 10 editions.
She beat Elizabeth Addo of Kvarnsvedensik and Black Queens of Ghana, and Gabrielle Onguene of Rossyanka and Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon, to the award.
Her team, the Super Falcons, picked the 2016 Women’s National Team of the Year Award, beating Cameroon and South Africa in the process.
Arsenal FC and Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi also won the 2016 Youth Player of the Year Award, while Kelechi Iheanacho joined in making it a glorious night for Nigeria.
The Manchester City and Super Eagles forward won the 2016 Most Promising Talent of the Year Award.
Both Iwobi and Iheanacho also made it to the substitutes bench in the Africa Finest XI team, which had 11 starting players and seven substitutes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Awards organisers, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), also honoured President Muhammadu Buhari with the CAF 2016 Platinum Award.