Sadio Mane – Eyes on the Afcon trophy

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Having won the 2019 African Footballer of the Year award and having played in the finals of the African Cup Nations before, nothing would be more fitting to add to the list of Sadio Mane’s achievements than actually winning the Afcon trophy. 

The 29-year-old member of the Senegalese who plays as a winger and forward, missed out on featuring in the 2015 Afcon tournament owing to injury. But he was back in with Lions of Teranga in Gabon two years later, banging in important goals against Tunisia and Zimbabwe in the group stages of the tournament.  

But a promising start to the tournament ended in heartbreak when they were eliminated after penalty shootouts against Cameroon in the quarterfinals.  

But even more determined he returned to the Afcon stage in 2019, going all the way to the finals, eventually losing out to Algeria, finishing as runners-up. 

That years he was voted the African Footballer of the Year, further cementing his position as one of the best players to come out this continent. 

A very intelligent player on the field, on and off the ball and blessed with load of speeds, great technique and amazing footwork, Mane continues to be a great ambassador of African football in Europe where he is an instrumental member of the Liverpool squad. 

Making him a huge asset on top of his ability to create goalscoring opportunities, is his ability to score with both feet himself. To date, he has scored more than 100 goals in the English Premier League and he is also the second all-time top goalscorer for Senegal. 

It was these qualities that helped him propel Liverpool to back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019 and being crowned champions that year. He was also instrumental in helping Liverpool end their 30-year league drought. 

But just like he won the UEFA Champions League in 2019 after he had lost out in the finals in 2018, he will be hoping reaching the Afcon finals in 2019 will be a good omen as they hope this year’s installment of the tournament.