Mane sorry to Senegal after winning top African accolade
Sadio Mane has apologised to home country Senegal after he was forced to shelve plans for a celebratory visit after being named African Player of the Year.
The Liverpool star was earlier this week announced as the new Confederation of African Football’s Player of the Year after an outstanding 12 months.
Mane was given the award at a ceremony in Egypt on Tuesday and had then planned to go to back to Senegal on Wednesday as part of the celebrations.
However, due to travel disruption beyond the 27-year-old’s control, he was forced to change his itinerary and has instead returned to Liverpool, with his focus now on Saturday’s Premier League trip to Tottenham.
“I am of course very happy and proud to win this award and I want to dedicate it to everyone who has helped me on my journey from the very beginning,” Mane told the Liverpool website.
“It was my plan to first fly to Senegal to thank the people of my country and recognise them for everything they have given me on my journey, but unfortunately we were unable to make the visit. It is true I am disappointed I was unable to return home to say thank you because of some problems beyond our control.”
Mane insists he will go back home to see friends, family and his many fans as soon as possible, with a trip now planned for the end of March when Senegal are due to begin their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Mane was named the new CAF Player of the Year, beating Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah, who had won the award for the last two years, into second place, while Manchester City’s Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez was third.
Mane has impressed for Liverpool over the course of 2019, scoring 31 goals in all competitions in the calendar year, while he has also caught the eye for Senegal in the past 12 months with three goals – all of which came in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.