Mohamed Salah wins African Player of the Year for 2017

Mohamed Salah PS

Salah took the award with 625 points, surpassing two other finalists: Senegal's Sadio Mane (507) and Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (311).

Salah, 25, had a memorable year, first as part of the Egypt team that made the Africa Cup of Nations final in February.

He also had a hand in all seven of the goals that took the Pharaohs to their first World Cup since 1990 - assisting two and scoring five, including the stoppage-time penalty against Congo that saw them qualify them for Russian Federation.

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Mohamed Salah wins African Player of the Year for 2017

He also made an African record move to Liverpool and scored 23 goals in all competitions for the Premier League club in 2017 so far.

Salah is the first Egyptian and third North African - after last year's Algerian victor Ryad Mahrez, and Morocco's Mustapha Hadji in 1998 - to win the prestigious individual honour since its inception by CAF in 1992.

"I want to tell them to never stop dreaming, never stop believing". Mohamed Salah has come a long way since his career in football began and now he is the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al-Khatib in 1983.

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"I think we have a good national team and we did very well in the Africa Cup [of Nations], and qualification for the World Cup we did very well", he said.

Aubameyang was Bundesliga top scorer with 31 goals last season, holding off Bayern Munich and Poland ace Robert Lewandowski.

The mercurial forward is expected to return in time for Liverpool's league clash against runaway leaders Manchester City at home on Jan 14.

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Thursday's ceremony was a momentous event for Egyptians after their national soccer team was named the National Team of the Year and their coach Hector Cuper won the Coach of the Year award.

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