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2016 African Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez

By Toyin Akiode

Riyad Mahrez is Africa’s best male footballer for 2016. For a player that only turned professional about eight years ago and who was bought from French outfit, Le Havre for less than a million pounds by Leicester City FC in 2014, one can say he has really come a long way to sitting on top of the podium as the best among the rest in Africa.

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There is also a bit of history regarding the latest award won by the fleet foot, fast paced and mercurial winger. He is the first Algerian since Rabbah Madja was unofficially recognised as Africa’s best decades ago to win this coveted award. The Leicester forward is indeed a history maker!

After signing for the Foxes, he helped them win the Football League Championship and promotion to the Premier League at the end of his first season.

In the 2015–16 season he was the Algerian Footballer of the Year, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, and was a member of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year.

All the awards came as a result of the unbelievable story (in which he played a starring role) written by Leicester’s class of 2015/2016 in winning the Premier League!  Mahrez is a delight to watch in flight with the ball practically glued to his left foot.

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Mahrez with the 2016 African Player of the Year award

CAF had disclosed earlier on Thursday that Mahrez had polled 361 votes to beat last year’s winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Borussia Dortmund into second place.  Senegal and Liverpool’s battling and prolific midfielder Sadio Mane came third.

It is the second award for being the best player in Africa that Mahrez has received in the past month after winning the BBC’s award.

The Algerian made his international debut in 2014. He was part of his country’s team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where they reached the second round. He also featured for the Desert Foxes at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

We at 9jafans.com wish Mahrez and all other winners’ successful careers in world’s number one sport.