Senegal’s golden boy Sadio Mane apologised to the entire nation of Senegal for not visiting his home country, choosing to return directly to Liverpool after being crowned African Player of the year.
The forward received the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Award, beating teammate Mohamed Salah and Manchester City’s Riyadh Mahrez to the award.
Mane helped the Kops win the 2018-19 Champions League trophy, scoring 30 goals in all competitions last season. He has scored 15 goals so far this season as Liverpool sit top of the Premier League table.
A state celebratory ceremony was organised at the Museum of Black Civilisation in Senegal’s capital Dakar, with Senegal President Macky Sall confirming his attendance.
But Mane was unable to attend the ceremony due to travel disruptions beyond his and the club’s control, he however promised to attend at the earliest of opportunities.
“I am very happy and proud to win this award and I want to dedicate it to everyone who has helped me on my journey from the very beginning,” Mane told the Liverpool website.
“It was my plan to first fly to Senegal to thank the people of my country and recognise them for everything they have given me on my journey, but unfortunately we were unable to make the visit.
“I am disappointed I was unable to return home to say thank you because of some problems beyond our control. So, I will return to Senegal as soon as possible because it is something very important to me,” He added.
The earliest Mane can return to Dakar will be at the end of March, ahead of Senegal’s opening 2022 World Cup qualifying game, though they are yet to know their opponents.
Mane’s Player of the Year award is the first since countryman El Hadji Diouf who was playing for Liverpool as well at the time in 2002.
Diouf won the award after an impressive World Cup campaign at which the Lions of Teranga reached the Quarterfinals, as well as losing at the Nations Cup final to Cameroon.