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African All Stars

African Player of the Year: El Hadji Diouf 1000% convinced of Sadio Mane's triumph

13:38 GMT 06/01/2020
Sadio Mane Liverpool 2019-20
The Liverpool star has thrice before appeared on the final list, but has never been crowned the best player on the African continent

Former Senegal forward El Hadji Diouf is backing his compatriot Sadio Mane to win the 2019 African Player of the Year award.

The continent's best footballer will be crowned in Hurghada, Egypt on Tuesday with Mane together with his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah and Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez being the three finalists gunning for the prestigious recognition.

Salah has been named Africa’s best footballer in the past two years with Mane coming second on both occasions, while Mahrez won the 2016 title, a year when Mane was the third-best.

But Diouf, a two-time African Footballer of the Year, believes it is Mane's time to claim the award.

“I am a thousand percent convinced of the coronation of Sadio [Mane],” Diouf told Senegal Press Agency.

“Sadio Mane has had a successful season to claim the title of best African footballer [award]. I am very proud of what he did and if it was up to me, a Senegalese will win the title.”

Diouf is the only Senegalese to have won the coveted title, after bagging it in 2001 and 2002.

Another Senegalese, in coach Aliou Cisse, is also gunning for the Coach of the Year gong after guiding the Teranga Lions to the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations where they lost to Algeria.

“Our dear country, Senegal, is worth all the sacrifices and deserves to shine everywhere. And everyone must try to make it shine in the areas where it is,” Diouf said.

Cisse is facing challenges from Algeria’s Afcon winning coach Djamel Belmadi and Esperance’s Mouine Chaabani.