Retro African football 2022: Mané at the top, Hakimi-Ziyech brilliant, Salah a safe bet

Hakim Ziyech, Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and Achraf Hakimi, stars of African football.

© Julio Cortez / Amr Nabil / Themba Hadebe / Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

Text by: Luca Endrizzi

4 mins

Among the stars of African football, four have been particularly successful in 2022: Moroccans Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech, Senegalese Sadio Mané and Egyptian Mohamed Salah.

Back on their prowess achieved in the Premier League, in France, during the CAN and, of course, during the World Cup in Qatar.


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Sadio Mané

 will remember this year 2022 for a long time. The Senegalese footballer, who moved from Liverpool to Bayern Munich during the summer, had the best season of his career.

In January-February, he won the African Cup of Nations with Senegal, the first continental title in the history of the Teranga Lions.

Unhappy from the penalty spot at the start of the final against Egypt, the striker made up for it by converting the shot on goal that gave Senegal the victory.

The icing on the cake: he was also named Best Player of the Tournament.

If he could not participate in the World Cup because of an injury, Sadio Mané was still honored for his big season by finishing second in the Ballon d'Or 2022, behind Karim Benzema and ahead of Kevin De Bruyne.

This is the best result for an African player since 1995, when the trophy was won by George Weah, current president of Liberia. 

France Football

 also awarded Sadio Mané the Socrates prize, which rewards players involved in societal and charitable projects.

The Bayern Munich footballer has indeed financed development projects in his native village, in the south of Senegal, including a hospital.       

► To read also: Ballon d'Or: the Senegalese Sadio Mané on the second step of the podium

Congratulations, @SMane_Officiel 👏 A big respect for all your social activities 👍🏼 #BallonDor #sadiomane #esmuellert

— Thomas Müller (@esmuellert_) October 17, 2022

Achraf Hakimi

, at just 24 years old, had a very good first season at PSG, with 4 goals to his name and an obvious complicity with Kylian Mbappé.

The player, trained at Real Madrid, shone twice in the season with the shirt of the Moroccan national team.

First at the CAN, at the start of the year: in Cameroon, the defender distinguished himself by scoring two goals from a free kick, against Gabon and Malawi.

Then, nine months later, during the Qatari World Cup, he demonstrated how indispensable he was, both in the defensive phases and in the construction of the game.

His decisive panenka in the penalty shoot-out win over Spain in the round of 16 is the best demonstration of the skill and confidence of the right-back, who already has more than 60 games with the Atlas Lions .

Fast, technical, offensive, he is a symbol of the modern side.

► To read also:

Achraf Hakimi, in boss mode of the Atlas Lions 


— Achraf Hakimi (@AchrafHakimi) December 21, 2022

Hakim Ziyech

 has found the light thanks to the World Cup.

The Dutch-born player has had a long sluggish year.

At Chelsea, he is not a starter and has only limited playing time.

And he stayed away from the Moroccan selection for a while, because he was banned by Vahid Halilhodzic.

The winger was therefore not from the CAN in Cameroon.

But everything changed at the end of August, when Walid Regragui took over from the Bosnian technician on the Morocco bench.

The coach recalled Hakim Ziyech, who had not worn the national team jersey since June 2021. Regragui, who always had kind words for the former Ajax player, did not didn't have to regret it.

This confidence was amply rewarded during the World Cup with leading performances on the pitch and a goal against Canada in the first round.

With Sofiane Boufal and Youssef En-Nesyri, Hakim Ziyech took an important part in the superb course of the Atlas Lions.

And now, several major European clubs, including AC Milan, are interested in his profile.  

► To read also: World - Morocco: Ziyech, the return to grace 

What a welcome for our Atlas lions 🫶🏻🔥🇲🇦 #Rabat #Morocco #MAR #Ziyech #Hakimi

— 🇳🇱 Marroquí 🇲🇦 (@Rscinq) December 20, 2022

Mohamed Salah

 hasn't had the greatest success with Egypt this year.

The African Cup of Nations passed under his nose with another defeat in the final, this time against Senegal, as a cruel reminder of the failure of 2017 against Cameroon.

And the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

But with Liverpool, on the other hand, the Pharaoh was once again exceptional.

Mohamed Salah finished top scorer in the Premier League once again (23 goals), as in 2018 and 2019. He was also voted Best Player in the English League, by supporters and by his peers.

In terms of achievements, the striker won the League Cup, the Cup and the Community Shields with the Reds, but not the Champions League.

In the final, Real Madrid had the last word.

At 30, Mohamed Salah continues to write history at Liverpool, his club since 2017. He entered the Top 10 Scousers top scorers, and the Top 5 is not far away.

With 172 goals, the Egyptian is getting closer to Steven Gerrard and his 186 goals.

► To read also: Premiere League: Mohamed Salah crowned player of the season 2021-2022 by his peers


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