Uganda’s Onyango crowned 2016 African Player of the Year

Kampala, Jan 7 (IANS) Ugandan football team’s first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango was crowned the 2016 African Player of the Year (African based).

Onyango, who helped Uganda qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after 39-years of waiting was crowned during the Glo Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards ceremony that took place in Abuja, Nigeria, reports Xinhua news agency.

Onyango had 252 votes, while his teammate at Sundowns and Zimbabwean striker Khama Billiat picked 228 votes and Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba who helped TP Mazembe win the CAF Confederations Cup finished third with 206 votes.

Onyango was also picked as goalkeeper for Africa’s finest eleven.

Uganda’s national team, Cranes was also voted best team of 2016 for their good show and qualification for 2017 Afcon. Cranes beat the national teams of Zimbabwe and Senegal which had also been nominated.

Moses Magogo, head of Uganda’s football governing body told Xinhua in an interview that the awards show that the quality of football in the country has improved.

“This is good for the country and it is a sign that we are on the right path,” Magogo said.

Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, who helped Leicester City win the English Premier League (EPL) last season won the CAF Africa Player of the Year Award (foreign based).

The women’s Player of the Year Award was won by Asisat Oshola (Nigeria), while Kelechi Iheanacho who has been in good form for Manchester City and Nigeria won the most promising talent award.

Another Nigerian Alex Iwobi was voted Youth Player of the Year and Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane scooped the Coach of the Year award.

Onyango’s team Mamelodi Sundowns was also voted Club of the Year after they won the South African League and the 2016 CAF Champions League.

Nigeria voted the women’s national team of the year and Gambia’s Bakary Papa Gassama picked the Referee of the Year award.

–IANS

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