Thursday Feb 13, 2020. 16:00
Senegal international Sadio Mane says his achievements would not be possible without the backing of his family, friends and fans in his hometown, Bambali.
The Liverpool FC forward scooped the 2019 CAF African Player of the Year award last month after a stellar year that saw him win the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Premier League Golden Boot.
“I can’t describe how they are and how motivated they are especially. They always push me. I think it was something special for the village because in the village we had some great players but they were never successful,” Mane told the club’s official website.
“When I came to France and that time I was playing second league, the village never had the channel to watch the second league, so everybody was so excited to see me on TV first of all!
“They were praying for me every day to see me at this level because they will be just proud. How things are going and as I get more motivated and [they get] more excited to see me higher and higher, I think I have to sacrifice myself to make them proud.”
Mane realised a lifelong ambition when he claimed the prestigious individual prize at a ceremony in Egypt, edging ahead of Mohamed Salah and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez.
But 27-year-old player also acknowledges the role his Liverpool teammates played in achieving such a feat.
“I would say the dream came true. When I was young I was always dreaming to be the best and this year I got it, so I’m really happy. For sure, I’m looking forward to performing well again for my team especially and win more,” he added.
“Especially since I’m playing for Liverpool – which is a very, very, very big club in the world – winning trophies with the team can give you some opportunities to win some trophies like this.
“For sure, you have to perform well to get this [award]. I don’t know if I’m doing well but I’m trying to do my best for the team and for the club!”