Sports News of Saturday, 17 November 2018
Ghana international and Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Teye Partey has been nominated for the 2018 BBC Africa Player of the Year Award.
He was nominated alongside Medhi Benatia, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah for the award.
It has been an outstanding year for Partey, a first time nominee, after he cemented his place as an important figure for both Atletico and Ghana’s Black Stars.
The 25-year-old helped Diego Simeone’s side to a second-place finish in La Liga last season and they won the Europa League.
He also captained Ghana in friendlies against Japan and Iceland in the summer and has become the driving attacking force in the team.
Morocco captain Medhi Benatia, 31, has developed into one of Europe’s most reliable defenders in recent years, having played for some of the continent’s biggest clubs.
A robust but assured centre-back, Benatia helped Juve win their seventh successive Serie A title last season, while they also won the Coppa Italia and reached the Champions League quarter-finals.
He also led Morocco in their first appearance at a World Cup finals since 1998, though they were eliminated in the group stage.
Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly is another debutant on the shortlist, having continued to impress at the heart of the Napoli defence.
Koulibaly, 27, helped the Italian side set a new club record for points in a Serie A season as they finished second behind Juventus.
Senegal and Liverpool forward Mane has been nominated for the award for the past three years, only to miss out to eventual winners Yaya Toure, Riyad Mahrez and Reds team-mate Mohamed Salah.
Mane, 26, has scored 21 goals so far in 2018 for club and country, helping Liverpool become one of the most feared attacking sides in Europe.
Mohamed Salah had never been nominated for the BBC African Football of the Year award before he became the third Egyptian to win the prize last year.
Now the Liverpool forward is aiming to be the first player to retain it since Nigeria’s Jay-Jay Okocha in 2002.
The 26-year-old started 2018 as strongly as he finished 2017, scoring another 21 goals to end his debut campaign at Anfield with an incredible haul of 44 in 52 appearances.
That helped the Reds reach the Champions League final and led to a host of personal accolades, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year.