Naturally, winners of the awards are determined by votes from Technical and Development Committee and a panel of media experts, putting into consideration the performance of these players in the year in review.
No doubt, the three players have done exceptionally well for clubs and countries within the period in review and as they slug it out so much will be expected from the result.
As at close of business, the duo of Salah and Mane have won three trophies, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup which is the most prestigious title for club football.
Moreover, these two players also took part in the CAF African Cup of Nations tagged Egypt 2019. So much was expected from Salah, as fans had looked up to the reigning African Footballer of the year win the title on home soil.
Unfortunately, Salah’s Egypt were edged out in the quarterfinal by South Africa to end his dream of winning that title on home soil. He finished with 2 goals in that tournament.
On the other hand, Sadio Mane was good with his side, taking them to the final of the continental showpiece where they lost to a Riyad Mahrez inspired side Algeria. Mane scored 3 goals in that tournament despite not winning the title.
Riyad Mahrez on his side helped his club Manchester City become the first premier league team to win the domestic treble of EPL, FA Cup and the EFL Cup. They also added the Community Shield at the begin of season.
On the continental showpiece, Mahrez captained his side to break a 29-year-old AFCON drought, winning the title in style after making significant impact in the semifinal where he scored a late goal to beat Nigeria. Mahrez, like Mane also scored 3 goals.
One other thing which the duo of Mahrez and Mane shared in common in that final was that they were captain of their national sides, but it was Mahrez who emerged a more superior captain in that final.
So far in the history of CAF Award, we have seen winners emerge only when individual performances are considered based on performances of players at their European Clubs, but this seem to be going to be a little difficult, if the performances of these three players are critically accessed.
Yes, Egypt will host the CAF Award and take responsibilities. But will that also give an edge to Salah, or will the reigning champion lose again on home soil? If Salah is going to give-up the individual award on home soil, who will the voters more likely deem to vote for, Mane or Mahrez ?