Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi believes Manchester City wideman Riyad Mahrez should be named African Footballer of the Year, owing to their Africa Cup of Nations success in July.
The wideman was pivotal to the Desert Foxes securing their second-ever continental title, and their first success in the competition since 1990.
Mahrez, 28, also recorded domestic success with Manchester City with Pep Guardiola’s side claiming the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup titles, a feat that had never been achieved before.
Speaking to La Provence [via DZ Foot], Algeria’s head coach explained the reason for tipping the attacker to claim the individual award for the first time since 2016.
“In the year of the Africa Cup of Nations, the award for Africa’s best player should go to a player who won it, like Riyad Mahrez,” Belmadi asserted.
“He scored in the competition and was decisive. For me, the Afcon must earn him the award.”
The 43-year-old coach, however, stated one reason why Liverpool’s Sadio Mane may beat the Man City wideman to the honour.
“One disadvantage for him is that he has less playing time than Mane for their clubs.”
Mahrez has been named as one of the top 10 contenders for the individual award, alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah (winner in 2017 and 2018), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as Mane, seeking his first title.
The Algerian’s teammates, Youcef Belaili and AC Milan’s Ismail Bennacer (named best player of Afcon 2019), are also on the shortlist for the coveted award.