Mohamed Salah favorite to complete awards hat-trick
Mohamed Salah favorite to complete awards hat-trick
The Liverpool forward, scorer of 23 goals in all competitions midway through his first season at Anfield, has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year and Arab Player of the Year.
Salah, Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Gabon are the contenders for the highest African individual football honor.
The scoring feats of Salah have installed him as the public and media favorite to succeed Algerian Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City as the number one African footballer.
“I want to be the best Egyptian footballer ever,” said Salah after receiving the BBC award last month.
“When I came to Liverpool I hoped to show everyone my abilities. I scored a lot of goals with Roma and am very happy being successful at Liverpool.”
Salah and Mane will leave Accra soon after the awards ceremony as Liverpool have a Friday night FA Cup third-round derby date with Everton.
However, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not hesitate to release his African duo for the Accra ceremony, which will include six other awards.
“It is a sign of respect,” he told reporters in Liverpool. “We sleep in a hotel and they sleep in a plane. That is the only difference.”
Salah is a doubt for the Merseyside showdown, though, having missed the English Premier League victory at Burnley this week owing to a groin strain.
Should Salah be named Player of the Year, he will be only the second Egyptian after 1983 winner Mahmoud al Khatib to hoist the symbol of individual brilliance.
It would be the first time since 1986 that north Africans have won successive editions of the annual poll, which this year involved national coaches, journalists, officials and the public.
Morocco midfielder Mohamed Timoumi was the 1985 winner, followed by compatriot Badou Zaki, one of two goalkeepers to be voted the best African footballer.
Footballers from the west of the continent have dominated recently with Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon and Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast each winning four times.
While Salah has made the top three for the first time, prolific Bundesliga scorer Aubameyang finished first once and second twice in the past three award ceremonies.
Mane came third last season, but his valuable input for Liverpool has been overshadowed by Salah, second in the Premier League scorers’ charts behind Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur.
Player of the Year:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB, Borussia Dortmund/GER), Sadio Mane (SEN, Liverpool/ENG), Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)
Women’s Player of the Year:
Chrestina Kgatlana (RSA, UWC Ladies), Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (CMR, CSKA Moscow/RUS), Asizat Oshoala (NGR, Dalian Quanjian/CHN)
Youth Player of the Year:
Patson Daka (ZAM, Liefering/AUT), Krepin Diatta (SEN, Sarpsborg/NOR), Salam Giddou (MLI, Guidars)
Coach of the Year:
Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Casablanca/MAR), Hector Cuper (EGY), Gernot Rohr (NGR)
Club of the Year:
Al Ahly (EGY), TP Mazembe (COD), Wydad Casablanca
National Team of the Year:
Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria
Women’s National Team of the Year:
Ghana U-20, Nigeria U-20, South Africa
Manuel Charr tests positive for steroids and is set to be stripped of WBA title
- Lebanon fighter has been forced to call off title defense against Fres Oquendo.
- Two substances were founds in samples taken at a training camp on 31 August.
LONDON: World heavyweight champion Manuel Charr has had to call off next week’s title defense, and is set to be stripped of his WBA belt, after testing positive for steroids.
The 33-year-old, who was born in Lebanon but lives in Germany, was due to defend his title against American Fres Oquendo, 45, in Cologne on September 29, but the fight is off after Charr tested positive for two anabolic steroids.
“Under the circumstances, we will unfortunately have to cancel the world title fight,” Charr told Cologne-based newspaper Express and his management confirmed the title defense was off to SID, an AFP subsidiary.
“I can only ask my fans and all the people in Cologne to believe me and to trust that everything will be cleared up.
“I’m totally shocked by the news — I have never taken anything.”
Charr is set to lose the World Boxing Association belt he won last year, but Britain’s Anthony Joshua is the WBA ‘Super’ champion and will defend his title in London on Saturday against Alexander Povetkin.
Germany’s top selling daily Bild, Express and magazine Spiegel all report Charr tested positive for the steroids epitrenbolone and drostanolone.
“These are both anabolic steroids. That is absolute hardcore doping. In boxers, the emphasis is on increasing muscle strength,” doping expert Fritz Soergel told Bild.
The ‘B’ sample will now be tested, but if they also contain the steroids then the future looks bleak for Charr.
“The fight is shelved. In my opinion, the WBA will take the belt off Manuel,” Thomas Puetz, President of the German Professional Boxers Federation (BDB), told SID.
“Two substances were founds in one of Manuel’s samples taken at a training camp on 31 August, which have been on the banned list for some time.”
Charr won the vacant WBA belt last November with a unanimous win against Russia’s Alexander Ustinov and claimed to be Germany’s first heavyweight champion since Max Schmeling.
It turned out to be a lie, because the Beirut-born son of a Syrian family does not own a German passport.
Charr’s failed drugs test is the latest twist in a colorful career.
In September 2015, he was left fighting for his life after being shot in the stomach following an altercation at a kebab restaurant in Essen.
He returned to the ring just seven months later, bearing the scars of the attack on his abdomen, but another setback followed earlier last year when both hips had to be replaced.