Friday May 31, 2019. 15:00
El Hadji Diouf has backed fellow countryman Sadio Mane as an early frontrunner for the 2019 Africa Player of the Year award.
Diouf, who won back-to-back Africa Player of the Year accolades in the early 2000's, believes Mane will be a worthy winner of the award, having finished second behind Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah over the last two years.
Mane, 27, has scored 26 goals in 49 appearances across all competitions this season. His 50th game of the campaign will come against Tottenham Hotspur in the Uefa Champions League final this Saturday.
“Seriously, [Sadio] Mane is a very fantastic player, very fast and nobody can predict what he can do on the pitch. Now is his time,” Diouf told Goal.
“He had a great season winning the Premier League golden boot and helping his team reach the Champions League final.
He continued: "In contention for the crown are holders, [Mohamed] Salah and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang who shared the Premier League topscorer award. Don’t forget there is a certain Hakim Ziyech who had a great season with Ajax.
“With the Africa Cup of Nations taking place very soon, it is easy to say it will be a contest between Salah and Mane, especially if they win the Champions League with Liverpool.
“But really, I think that Mane will win it. It is going to be a reward for his wonderful season in the Champions League and the Premier League.”