Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was on Friday voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year for the second consecutive time. He became the first player since Nigerian Augustine Okocha who won it in 2003 and 2004.
Salah also joins Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu and Ivory Coast’s Yaya Touré as the only players to win the award more than once, with two wins each.
The 26-year-old forward won the award at the expense of Juventus’ Medhi Benatia, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey.
The Egyptian Maestro scored 44 goals in 52 games for Liverpool which also helped him win the Premier League’s player of the year award.
Salah helped the Reds reach the UEFA Champions League final last season, he also scored four times in the qualifiers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Okocha’s first full season (2002-2003) in English football was good enough to earn him the BBC crown ahead of former Cameroonian international Eto’o who was playing for Real Mallorca and Stephen Appiah who was playing for Brescia.
The skillful playmaker’s excellent run in the second half of the season earned him rave reviews and he finished as the club’s joint top scorer.
Okocha retained the trophy after a year in which he exceeded his exploits of 2003, captaining Nigeria to third place at the Nations Cup and helping Bolton to eighth in the Premiership, their then highest finish.
In only his second season with the club, he assumed the captaincy and promptly led the Trotters to the League Cup final, largely thanks to two stunning freekicks in the semifinal win over Aston Villa.
He took that form to the Nations Cup, scoring four goals including the 1,000th in the history of the competition to finish joint top scorer while also being named player of the tournament.
The prize started life as the BBC African Sports Star of the Year award in 1992, former Ghanaian footballer Abedi Pele was the inaugural winner.
The BBC received more than 650,000 votes this year which is a record for the award.
2017: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt)
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
2015: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2014: Yacine Brahimi (Porto & Algeria)
2013: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2012: Chris Katongo (Henan Construction & Zambia)
2011: Andre Ayew (Marseille & Ghana)
2010: Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)
2009: Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)
2008: Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2007: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)
2006: Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)
2005: Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2004: Augustine Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2003: Augustine Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2002: El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)
2001: Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)
2000: Patrick M’Boma (Cagliari/Parma & Cameroon)