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Africa’s best of the year: The winner is, the winners are!

Today is finally here. The best African footballer in both the male and female category will be known tonight in Dakar, Senegal.

The trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will battle for the  title. Interestingly it was the same three players that slugged it out in the 2017 edition with Mohamed Salah emerging victorious and Mane and Aubameyang finishing in the 2nd and third places respectively.

Should Salah who has scored a record 45 goals for his club Liverpool in 57 appearances win it again, he would have clinched it back to back. Should it go the way of Aubameyang the Arsenal forward would also have clinched the title twice haven  emerging victorious in the 2015 edition.

He has remained in the top three since 2014. As for home boy Sadio Mane It is the second time he will be making the top three lists.  He finished third in the 2016 edition and 2nd in the last edition and with the event holding at home it will be icing on the cake for the Senegal international should he finish first this time. Although all the African countries to the last world cup in Russia crashed out in the group stage, Senegal came quite close to crossing the bridge with Mane quiet effective in their effort scoring in the 2-2 draw against Japan.

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In the ladies category Nigeria international and Dalian Quanjian of China forward Assisat Oshoala will be hoping to clinch the title for the 4th time after winning in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Should he succeed in realising her dream she would have equaled the record of Perpetual Nkwocha who claimed the gong four times. Also in contention is Francisca Ordega who contributed immensely to Super Falcons emergence as African Champions for the 9th time.

The two Nigerian ladies will however hope to survive the challenge posed by South Africa’s Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana. Kgatlana, 22, was the star of the last AWCON, scooping the Most Valuable Player and Top scorer accolades as Banyana Banyana reached the final. Her second nomination at this level and hoping to become the second South African after Noko Matlou (2008) to be crowned ‘Queen’ of African football.

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Others that will be recognised today include Youth Player of the Year, Men’s Coach of the Year, Women’s Coach of the Year, Men’s National Team of the Year, Women’s National Team of the Year, Goal of the Year, Africa Finest XI, Ydnekatchew Tessema Trophy for the Federation President of the Year and Platinum Award At least 1,250 guests are expected at the event that will be beamed live from Dakar.

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