Dubai: Footballer Mohammad Salah was calling in the carpenters again to expand his trophy cabinet after winning his second successive African Footballer of the Year accolade at the Confederation of African Football’s awards ceremony in Dakar on Tuesday.
Salah beat fellow nominees, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to claim the title, and it is hard to think of someone more deserving of recognition than the former Roma striker.
Not only does he has two of the most gifted feet in football, lighting up the Uefa Champions League with his exploits last season while taking Liverpool to the final of club football’s biggest tournament, he continues to pay it forward, too.
Salah is an inspiration to young fans the world over with his goals, but he also uses his position as a celebrity to help those less fortunate than himself.
Salah is building a hospital and a school in his hometown of Nagrig back in Egypt and he also ploughs hundreds of thousands of his hard-earned pounds into charities at home and across the globe to give youngsters a better chance in life.
Born in Gharbia Province in Egypt, Salah always had a dream of making it to the top. Taking an unorthodox route to stardom via Basel, London, Rome and Liverpool, the devout Muslim used his talents with a ball to ensure he could get to the pinnacle of the game but never lost the focus of helping those around him.
Salah earns a reported 90,000-pounds-a-week and unlike many crass footballers that splash the cash on bling and sports cars, he does his best to make sure his earnings aid the lives of people he left behind in Nagrig.
He used his salary to pay for the first ambulance in the area and has bought expensive medical equipment that helps people every day.
His has also set up his own charity to provide basic materials and medical supplies for families in need back home.
And now his exploits on and off the field are being recognised.
He edged the same two players — Mane and Aubameyang — to claim the African Footballer of the Year title last year in a vote decided by the technical directors and head coaches of 56 CAF member associations.
“This award is very big for me, I love it because I saw it when I was young and I always had a dream to win it one day,” Salah said.
“I’m proud to win it twice, I must thank my family and my teammates, and I dedicate this award to my country, Egypt.”
Salah helped Liverpool reach the 2018 Champions League final, but suffered a shoulder injury during the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev.
That injury raised doubts about his World Cup participation, but he regained fitness to represent Egypt in the finals in Russia, scoring twice as they exited in the first round.
He has scored 13 Premier League goals this season to guide Liverpool to the top of the standings.
But even a first Premier League trophy for Liverpool will pale in significance to what Salah the man has done to benefit his fellow people.