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OUTSTANDING AFRICAN ATHLETES - 2018

This list places focus on outstanding African personalities in sports who have contributed immensely to the sporting world ON and OFF field in the past year. These persons have earned our recognition for their doggedness to provide social flair and entertain fans with their dexterity. The list goes in no particular order;

Mohamed Salah (Footballer, Egypt)
PFA Player of the Year-Salah took home arguably the biggest individual accolade on offer for any Premier League player during his debut campaign at Anfield.
  • Liverpool’s Player of the Season- This was perhaps one of the more obvious choices. Whenever Liverpool needed somebody to produce, Salah has delivered.
  • CAF African Footballer of the Year-Salah’s magic handed him best African Footballer of the Year award – also he has also provided his home nation Egypt with just their second victory in the African Footballer of the Year awards – and the first since it became the CAF Award in 1982.
  • Football Writer’s Association Footballer of the Year- He was named FWA Footballer of the Year the same day he won two gongs at Liverpool’s annual awards.
  • Liverpool’s Players’ Player of the Season- Salah’s team-mates also recognised his brilliance last year by giving him the title of Players’ Player of the Season.
  • BBC African Footballer of the Year- Voted for by BBC radio listeners, Salah has won the prestigious individual accolade to recognise him as the best African footballer bak to back (2017/18 & 2018/2019) – making him the only African player to have won it twice.
  • Arab Footballer of the Year- The ‘Egyptian King’ is far more than just an incredible footballer – his success has helped to shine a positive light on the Arab community too. He beat Syria’s Omar Khribin and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez to the award.
  • Puskas Award 2018- Salah’s goal in Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Everton was voted the best goal from last season. He beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to the award.

Samuel Eto’o (Footballer, Cameroon)
  • Whether still very active in football or not, Samuel Eto’o remains a topnotch personality to reckon with in African football – and he has earned just that on our list.
  • The erstwhile Barcelona ace bagged FOUR African Footballer of the Year accolades (2003, 2004 at Spanish side Mallorca, 2005 at Barcelona & 2010 at the world-conquering Inter Milan side)
  • He is also won FOUR Champions League champions’ medals (1999/2000 at Real Madrid, 2005/06 & 2008/09 at Barcelona & 2009/2010 at Inter Milan).
  • And well so, he secured AFCON success with Cameroon on TWO occasions – 2000 and 2002 respectively.
  • Eto’o has earned our wide recognition not just because of his 2018 exploits on field but his generous gesture off-field. The former Inter Milan player donated money to poverty-stricken ex-Cameroon captain Norbert Owona whose appeal to the Cameroonian government for help was rejected after he lost his family in an accident, felt sick and went homeless 
Blessing Okagbare (Athlete, Nigeria)
  • Blessing Okagbare, has been bestowed the rare honour of being named University of Texas El Paso’s (UTEP) best ever female athlete.
  • With 22.04secs in her 200m race at the Wes Kittley Invitational Track and Field Meet at the Abilene Christian University, she erased the 22-year-old previous African record of 22.07secs set by Mary Onyali 1996.

Caster Semenya (Athlete, South Africa)

  • Semenya bagged 2018 Wilma Rudolph Courage Award
  • She clinked another 800m title in Zurich, it was her third straight Diamond league series title in her favoured distance.
  • 1,000m in 2:30.70 at the IAAF Challenge Series, the time meant she broke her very own South African record of 2:31.01 in July 2018.
  • She is now in fifth place in the all-time women’s 1,000m world rankings, just under than two seconds off the pace of the two-decade-old world record of 2:28.98 run by Russian Svetlana Masterkova.

Odunayo Adekuoroye (Wrestler, Nigeria)

  • Nigeria’s sensational wrestler, Odunayo Adekuoroye, has been named 2017 history maker by the United World Wrestling (UWW)
  • She won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth games
  • Odunayo Adekuoroye, has also been elected into the United World Wrestling ( UWW ) Athletes Commission.

Aruna Quadri (Tennis Player, Nigeria)

  • Winner of the Men’s Singles title in August at the 2018 ITTF Nigeria Open Challenge
  • He was later crowned African champion in Port Louis, Mauritius.
  • He was named Nigerian Sportsman of the Year – finishing ahead of footballer Ahmed Musa and Ike Diogu the captain of the national basketball team captain; both celebrated sporting personalities.

Eliud Kipchoge (Athlete, Kenya)

  • Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wins IAAF male athlete of 2018
  • He is also Kenya’s marathon world record holder
  • The world running organisation, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) named Eliud Kipchoge as the male winner of the AIMS Best Marathon Runner Awards for 2018.
  • Kipchoge was undefeated in the marathon in 2018, winning in London and Berlin. His victory in Berlin was in a world record of 2:01:39, taking 78 seconds off the previous record – the biggest single improvement on the world record for more than 50 years.

Asisat Oshoala (Footballer, Nigeria)

  • In 2018, Asisat retained her title as the African Women’s Footballer of the Year – which she has been nominated for again this year.
  • Oshoala contributed 10 goals for her Chinese team Dalian Quanjian and was the second top scorer in the league.
  • Oshoala was again the star scoring three goals as the Super Falcons reclaimed their title and qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Ahmed Musa (Footballer, Nigeria)

  • He was named the Footballer of the Year in the 2018 Nigerian Sports Awards.
  • Musa’s goal against Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup was nominated for the Best Goal of the tournament.
  • He was also the first Nigerian to score more than once in a FIFA World Cup match, after scoring twice against Argentina in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Alexander Iwobi (Footballer, Nigeria)

  • Alex Iwobi and his Arsenal teammate Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang alongside Mohamed Salah were among the big winners at 2018 Best of Africa Awards.
  • Iwobi received the Philanthropic Endeavour: Community Action award for the role the Nigeria international has played to impact communities, remarkably.
  • Alex Iwobi set English Premier League record goal against Chelsea from the longest move for a goal in the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Footballer, Gabon)

  • After winning the African Footballer of the Year in 2015, he has been a consistent face in the 3-man nominees for the African football prestigious accolade.
  • He has proven influential for Arsenal – presently the highest scorer in English top flight division after a big money move to the London based club. 
  • The Gabonese has represented Gabon 51 times, scoring 20 goals along the way.

Sadio Mane (Footballer, Senegal)

  • Mane netted his 44th goal in the English Premier League – making him top Senegal’s top scorer in England. A record formerly held by Demba Ba (43 goals)
  • He was on the 30-man nomination list for 2018 Ballon d’Or
  • Nominated for this year’s African Footballer of the Year Award, he has now been nominated for the prestigious prize for three years consecutively.
  • He also helped Liverpool come close to winning the UEFA Champions League back in May’s final against eventual winners Real Madrid.

Aliou Cisse (Football manager, Senegal)

  • Senegal recorded the first African win at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, beating the highly fancied Polish side 2-1 under his tutulage
  • Cissé, in 2018  became the first person to have been the Captain and Coach of the Lions of Teranga (Senegal).
  • The former Senegalese international was the only African manager at Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup – bagging the most points any African team could recorded in the tournament
Isaac Dogbe  (Boxer,  Ghana) 
  • The 2012 Olympian after two consecutive wins over Cesar Juarez and Magdaleno in the early parts of the year was adjudged as the Sports' Writers Assoc. of Ghana (SWAG) Sport's Personality of the year 2017 in May, 2018.
  • Despite a defeat to Magdaleno in December, 2018, the young boxer got featured in the Ring Magazine's top 20 Pound for Pound boxers alongside big names like Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Danny Garcia and Adonis Stevenson. 
  • The young Bantamweight worldbeater also vied for the Best Fighter of the Year Award organised by the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America (BWAA). 
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