Algeria's Riyad Mahrez wins 2016 African player of the Year award

Ahram Online , AFP , Friday 6 Jan 2017

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez celebrating after scoring for Leicester City (Photo: Reuters)

Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez has won the 2016 Africa player of the year award during the Glo-CAF ceremony award on Thursday in Abuja.

The Leicester winger won 361 votes ahead of last year's winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon (313 votes) and Senegal forward Sadio Mane (186 votes).

Mahrez was a key figure for Leicester last season, which saw the English East Midlands club defy 5000-1 odds and predictions of relegation to clinch a fairytale title victory.

He played in all but one of the Foxes’ games in 2015-16 and scored 17 goals.

A fantastic form that earned him the PFA player of the season awards.

The slightly-built, right-sided forwarded also had humble beginnings, starting out with hometown club AAS Sarcelles in 2004.

Mahrez's win ends a 19-year absence on the podium for a player from north Africa since Morocco’s Mustapha Hadji in 1998.

Other Algerians to have won are Rabah Madjer in 1987 and Lakhdar Belloumi in 1981.

Elsewhere in the Maghreb, the title has gone to Morocco’s Badou Zaki (1986) and Mohamed Timoumi (1985); Mahmoud Al Khatib (Egypt, 1983), Tarek Dhiab (Tunisia, 1977); and Ahmed Faras (Morocco, 1975) when the awards were organised by France Football magazine.

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