DAKAR – Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has won the CAF African Footballer of the Year for the second time in a row, a victory celebrated on Twitter by Muslim fans worldwide, The Guardian reported on Wednesday, January 9.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year since I was last on this stage. I’ve always said this award for me is very big. I love it because I saw it when I was young. I had the dream to win one day. So now I’ve won it twice. I’m very proud to have won it twice,” Salah said at the ceremony held in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.
“I have to thank my family, teammates, fans, and everyone who played a role in my career to make this happen today. I would love to dedicate this award to my country, Egypt.”
The annual award is decided by a voting panel made up of national team coaches and captains, plus a selection of officials and journalists.
Salah bate his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the title.
The title was widely celebrated on social media by Muslim fans worldwide.
— HAMMAD BUKHARi (@743Hammad) January 9, 2019
Mo you are the best Muslim of africa
— Eng Amir (@EngAmir15) January 8, 2019
Another tweeted that Salah is remarkably the most influential Muslim alive.
Mo Salah is lowkey the most influential Muslim alive.
— Ahmad ibn Istifan (@ahmadalzujaj) January 8, 2019
Salah is arguably one of the biggest Muslim sports stars in the world at present.
Hailing from a Muslim-majority country, Salah is a devout Muslim who often prostrates to God on the field after scoring goals – a trend in sports that Egyptian players have started since 2006 during the African Cup of Nations in Egypt- hence nicknamed the ‘Prostrating Pharaohs’.
Salah’s record-breaking exploits for Liverpool have earned him millions of adoring fans.
Salah scored 44 goals in 52 appearances in all competitions last season while helping Liverpool surge through the Champions League knockout stages while securing a fourth-place EPL finish.
A recent report by Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) found that the success of Liverpool Muslim star Mohamed Salah has significantly decreased hate and race crimes in the English Premier League.