Mohamed Salah vs. Sadio Mane in final shortlist for major award

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have both been named on the final three-man shortlist for the CAF Men’s Player of the Year award, after a landmark year for the pair.

Salah and Mane are no longer team-mates, with the latter departing for Bayern Munich this summer after six years with Liverpool.

They now find themselves rivals in Europe, which they have grown accustomed to in recent years on the international stage with Egypt and Senegal respectively.

This year alone, they have faced off in two major finals, with Mane triumphant in both as Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations and booked a place at the 2022 World Cup at Egypt’s expense.

While there is a strong case to make for both players winning the Ballon d’Or come October, there can only be one winner – as is also true of this week’s CAF awards.

The Confederation of African Football has announced the final shortlist for various awards ahead of the ceremony on Thursday, with Salah and Mane both up for the Men’s Player of the Year prize.

Sadio Mane with Afcon trophy (Image: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo)

They are joined in the running by Chelsea and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who played a pivotal role in the two successes for his country earlier this year.

It seems likely that the winner will be Mane, who dragged Senegal through as their main inspiration, playing through a potential concussion and scoring the winning penalty in the AFCON final.

He also netted the decisive spot-kick in the playoff final for a World Cup spot, after Salah had blazed his own effort over the bar.

But Salah should be acknowledged for his efforts with both Liverpool and Egypt, not least for leading his country to both finals.