Saints superstars Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama have been nominated for this years African Player of the Year Award 2015.
It will come as no surprise to regular viewers of the Premier League that both Mane and Wanyama have been shortlisted for the award which is handed out by the confederation of African Football on December 22nd.
There is a 37 – man short list which includes nine other Premier League stars .The Saints duo will have to outshine these and many more in order to claim the prestigious award.
The premier league is littered with African talent as highlighted with some of the names shortlisted. Swansea new boy Andre Ayew is joined with Leicester’s Algerian sensation Riyad Mahrez and the current holder of the award a certain Yaya Toure of Manchester City.
Toure has won this award a staggering four times and will no doubt be looking to add to this and take his place in the history books as the first person to win it five times.
Both Mane and Wanyama are no pushovers and have proved their quality at the highest level week in week out for the Saints. This sensational form has also continued onto the International stage.
Wanyama recently captained his Kenyan side to a 5-2 victory in their 2018 World Cup first round qualifying match against Mauritius. The midfield powerhouse played the entire 90 minutes to ensure his side are in a commanding position in the two-legged tie.
Southampton’s seventh place finish last season and their qualification into the Europa League can be put down to Wanyama’s workhorse like attitude. He was an ever present in the Saints midfield and the Kenyan warrior never finished a game without putting his all into it. Southampton’s brilliant defensive record last season which saw them concede only 33 goals, which was one more than Champions Chelsea, indicates just how important Wanyama was in the heart of their side.
Mane has made 23 appearances for his country Senegal scoring seven goals in the process. He was sorely missed in this year’s African Cup of Nations as he was ruled out after suffering a calf injury whilst playing against Arsenal back in January. The impact of losing Mane saw Senegal drop out at the group stage proving what an influential individual he is.
Who would have thought that Robbie Fowler’s’ record of scoring a Premier League hatrick in four minutes and 33 seconds would have ever been broken. But Mane was in such good form last season he did more than brake it he decimated it. The man from Senegal managed to score three goals against Aston Villa in just two minutes and 56 seconds.
Both Mane and Wanyama were linked with big money moves as a result of their superb form in the stripes of Southampton. Mane was subject to interest from Manchester United whilst Wanyama looked almost certain to leave for Tottenham Hotspur but neither of the stars left their home of St.Mary’s.
Both players will now turn their attention to this weeks Premier League fixture against high flying Leicester City where they will be hoping to lead the saints to victory.
The wait begins to see who will be crowned the new African Player of the Year.