If you think being rejected is the end of the world, then you need to take a cue from the story of the 2017 African Footballer of the Year, Liverpool and Egyptian forward, Mohammed Salah.
In African football for the past 12 months, Salah has been head and shoulders above the rest. Salah, 25, won the Confederation of African Football Player of the Year ahead of his Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mané of Senegal and the Borussia Dortmund and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, at the CAF awards ceremony in Accra, Ghana last night.
Salah was once rejected by the local team he dreamt of playing for. He was loaned out by Chelsea after joining them from Swiss side FC Basel to Serie A sides Fiorentina and AS Roma, then sold to the latter. At Roma, his career took off as he scored 29 goals in two seasons and created 17 others to draw the attention of several English Premier League suitors.
Liverpool got him then for the club record fee of £36.9m ($46.5 million) from Roma.
Salah was a pivotal part of the revival of the Egyptian national team. First as part of the Egypt team that made the Africa Cup of Nations final in February. He was the joint top-scorer in the final round of qualifiers as Egypt reached the World Cup for the first time since 1990. He scored five goals in six games in the decisive qualifying round as Egypt sealed their place at the World Cup in Russia. Salah scored both goals, including the injury-time winner, in the 2-1 win over Congo in October that sealed Egypt’s place in Russia.
He has had a stunning first half of the season at Liverpool with 17 goals in 21 league games and 23 in 29 in all competitions. Salah also been named BBC African Footballer of the Year and Arab Player of the Year.
The award is traditionally voted for by the head coaches or technical directors of all Africa’s national teams. This is the first year CAF allowed captains of those teams to also vote.
Salah’s victory capped a clean sweep of the three main African football awards for Egypt. They won team of the year and their manager, Héctor Cúper, Africa’s coach of the year.
Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria was adjudged Women’s Player of the Year for the third time, after 2014 and 2016. She beat Cameroonian Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and Christina Kgatlana of South Africa to the top prize.