Flames and Amazulu striker, Gabadinho has lost the goal of the year award to Simba and Senegal attacker, Pape Sakho as Senegal dominated the CAF Awards that were held at Impressive Mohammed VI Technical Centre in Sale in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday night.

The glittering function that was attended by a gathering of Africa’s top football personalities and African’s top football stars, Gabadinho failed to attend due to some logistical issues but the Football Association of Malawi’s president, Walter Nyamilandu represented Malawi.

Mhango through his Facebook page said, “I would like to thank Malawians and everyone else who voted for me in the Caf awards, I owe you everything. Win or lose, I won the day I started wearing the Flames jersey and I will always be proud.

“I would have loved to attend the awards ceremony tonight but due logistical arrangement, I wont be able to. I am grateful to the FA and my club Amazulu Fc for trying their best to make a plan for me to make it to the award ceremony but it proved difficult. Pre season camp in Polokwane, just got back to Durban today, it needed more time for me to make it in time of the awards on an 18hr flight.”

Malawians and Southerns were eagerly waiting for the goal of the year award to know the winner as they were hoping to see it going to the former Nysa Big Forward, Gabadinho Mhango.

Gabadinho Mhango’s goal at the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations that was held in Cameroon, 2022 January  was sensational and a thing of beauty that made football fans and officials in the distant end nod in admiration at what others did not see at the close range.

Mhango received a pass from his Captain, John Banda, while in the forest of three Moroccans, Gaba touched it the second time, two more Moroccans joined the marauding pack. It was evident he was tightly marked and was under intense pressure. He had two tactical options: pass the ball back or lay the ball to an advancing Khuda Muyaba on the other side of the pitch.
But he turned deaf and blind, he lifted the ball into the air with power.

The floated piece of leather flew into the far top corner beyond the reach of the hapless Moroccan goalkeeper, Yassine Bounou to nestle beneath the far goal post. It was a stunner that Super Sports renowned commentator, Peter Drury would go wild by saying “This is quite something, the guy has magical feet, he is out of this world,” because he played under intense pressure. He didn’t fear anything. It was rare.

But according to the votes, such a compelling piece of art, finished third behind Pape Sakho’s strike for Simba and Zouhair El Moutoraj of Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club.

In other categories, Senegal’s Sadio Mane was crowned African Footballer of the Year for the second time running at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) awards.

Mane scored the winning penalty as Senegal beat Egypt in a shootout in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations final to lift the trophy for the first time.

The awards returned for the first time in three years after being suspended by the coronavirus pandemic, with Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala also retaining the title she won in 2019.

“I am very, very happy to receive the trophy this year,” Mane, 30, said as he collected his prize.

Mane beat compatriot and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as well as former Liverpool team-mate Salah, whose Egypt side lost February’s final.

“I thank the Senegalese people, and dedicate this trophy to the youth of my country,” added Mane, who also helped Senegal reach the World Cup and won two domestic cups with Liverpool.

Mane’s prize was one of five picked up by Senegal in a total of seven men’s categories after a night to remember for the West African nation.

Long-standing Senegalese boss Aliou Cisse won coach of the year, with his side named men’s team of the year, while Pape Sarr was named young player of the year and another Senegalese, Pape Ousmane Sakho, won best goal for his overhead kick for Tanzanian side Simba.

“We waited a long time for this Nations Cup,” said Augustin Senghor, the president of Senegal’s football federation. “We are a good example to all those teams who have not yet won (the tournament).”

Sarr, who appeared just once during Senegal’s historic Nations Cup triumph, won an award previously lifted by Salah himself after his season on loan with French side Metz, so edging out Red Bull Salzburg’s Ivorian Karim Konate and Manchester United’s Tunisian Hannibal Mejbri.

A host of African football legends such as Daniel Amokachi, Lucas Radebe, Jay-Jay Okocha, Geremi Njitap and Senegalese duo El Hadji Diouf and Khalilou Fadiga – who celebrated on stage with Mane – were in attendance for the awards at the Mohamed VI complex.

African and Moroccan champions Wydad Casablanca took the club of the year prize for the second time in a row, while Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, whose Nations Cup ended early because of injury, was named the interclub player of the year.

After a stellar season in which she won Spain’s Pichichi award for the top scorer, Oshoala became the first player to win five women’s awards, having previously shared eight with compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha.

She was voted ahead of Cameroon’s Inter Milan player Ajara Nchout Njoya and Grace Chanda, whose Zambia side qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time earlier this month.

“It’s a record-breaking night for me, as an individual and for Africa as a whole – I’ve got five today, five!” Oshoala exclaimed.

“2021-22 season was really tough for me as an individual, and I’d like to thank everyone who has stood by me.

“If you don’t fall, you don’t know the power of comeback and what comeback means,” said a player who managed her scoring feats despite a lengthy spell out with injury.

Oshoala dedicated her award to Nigeria’s Super Falcons, praising the team for the heart they showed when losing Monday’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) semi-final on penalties despite playing nearly an hour two women down.

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis was named women’s coach of the year for the third time in a row, after previous successes in 2018 and 2019.

One of just three women’s coaches at a Wafcon featuring 12 sides for the first time, Ellis – whose side can win the trophy for the first time on Saturday – dedicated her honour to her fellow female coaches.

The women’s team of the year will be announced after Saturday’s final, when Banyana Banyana meet hosts Morocco in a final whose attendance is expected to beat the record 45,000 set on Monday night.

The last twelve months have proved historic for women’s football in Africa, after the inaugural African Champions League took place in late 2021 – with winners Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa named club of the year.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s Evelyn Badu, who was with Hasaacas Ladies before moving to Norway, took both the young player and first interclub player award.

2022 Caf awards winners:

Player of the Year (men): Sadio Mane (Senegal & Bayern Munich)

Player of the Year (women): Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Barcelona)

Coach of the Year (men): Aliou Cisse (Senegal)

Coach of the Year (women): Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

National Team of the Year (men): Senegal.

Young Player of the Year (women): Evelyn Badu (Ghana & Sekondi Hasaacas Ladies/Alvaldsnes)

Young Player of the Year (men): Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal & Tottenham Hotspur)

Club of the Year (women): Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa).

Club of the Year (men): Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco).

Interclub Player of the Year (women): Evelyn Badu (Ghana & Sekondi Hasaacas Ladies/Alvaldsnes)

Interclub Player of the Year (men): Mohamed El Shenawy (Egypt & Al Ahly).

Goal of the Year: Pape Ousmane Sakho (Senegal & Simba).

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