The Uganda Cranes and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango was on Thursday named the African Player of the Year for 2016 by the Confederation of African Football in Abuja, Nigeria.
Cranes, best team in Africa, played a friendly in Tunisia on Thursday, and during the awards ceremony, were on a flight on their way to Dubai for their final preparations before a historic return to the African Cup of Nations due in Gabon.
At the awards, goalkeeper Onyango, named best African Player of the Year Based in Africa, was a winner on many fronts – with Cranes and his club Sundowns, best club in Africa, his coach Pitso Mosimane named Coach of the Year and he was also on the Africa XI of 2016.
Onyango was picked for the African Player of the Year Based in Africa award ahead of Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Khama Billiat and Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba.
He was outstanding when seven-time South African champions Sundowns won an historic CAF Champions League and also when Uganda qualified for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations after a long absence.
Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez was voted African Footballer of the Year after he inspired Leicester City to the English Premier League title last season.
Mahrez, 25, beat Gabon skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scooped the prestigious accolade last year, into second place, with Senegal star Sadio Mane, who features for Liverpool, taking third place.
African Player of the Year:
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
African Player of the Year – based in Africa:
Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
Women’s Player of the Year:
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Arsenal Ladies)
Most promising talent:
Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)
Young Player of the Year:
Coach of the year:
Pitso Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Club of the Year:
National team of the Year:
Women’s national team of the Year:
Referee of the Year:
Bakary Papa Gassama
CAF African XI for 2016
Goalkeeper: Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire & PSG), Aymen Abdenour (Tunisia & Valencia), Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United), Joyce Lomalisa (DRC &AS Vita)
Midfielders: Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns), Rainford Kalaba (Zambia & TP Mazembe),Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borussia Dortmund), Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
Subs: Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli), Salif Coulibaly (Mali & TP Mazembe), Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City), Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma), Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria & Arsenal)