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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Diouf scoops award
Senegal's El Hadji Diouf
Diouf is an icon in African football
Senegal and Liverpool star El Hadji Diouf has been named African Footballer of the Year for 2002.

The Liverpool striker was chosen for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) award ahead of his international team-mate Pape Bouba Diop and Egypt's Ahmed "Mido" Hossam.

Diouf also won the award in 2001, thereby becoming only the third player in more than three decades to win the African Footballer of the Year award in successive years.

Goalkeeper Tony Sylva made it an excellent night for Senegal by taking the best goalkeeper award at the ceremony in Johannesburg, while Mido won the Young Player of the Year award.

"We are very pleased for him," Liverpool assistant boss Phil Thompson told the club's official website.

"He is very high profile in Africa, but he is only just starting to show everybody here the ability he has.

"It has been difficult at times because he is still very young, but he is picking up the language all the time and settling in nicely.

"He is absolutely determined to succeed and that comes across in his play. His work-rate is phenomenal."

1991 - Abedi 'Pele' Ayew (Gha)
1992 - Abedi 'Pele' Ayew (Gha)
1993 - Rashidi Yekini (Ngr)
1994 - Emmanuel Amunike (Ngr)
1995 - George Weah (Lbr)
1996 - Nwankwo Kanu (Ngr)
1997 - Victor Ikpeba (Ngr)
1998 - Mustapha Hadji (Mar)
1999 - Nwankwo Kanu (Ngr)
2000 - Patrick Mboma (Cmr)
2001 - El Hadji Diouf (Sen)
2002 - El Hadji Diouf (Sen)
It was a difficult job for the judges to decide the top award as 2002 was not a year where any one player really shone.

Diouf scored just two goals in international matches, but was seen as the key player in the Senegalese team that was the big story of the year.

The Lions reached the final of the African Nations Cup for the first time and went on to the reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup, beating France in the process.

Those achievements led listeners to the BBC World Service and users of the BBC's African Football website to vote him the BBC African Player of the Year.

Diouf is fortunate that Caf made its choice several months ago, as his behaviour in recent months would have damaged his chances.

After spitting at Celtic fans during a Uefa Cup quarter-final in Scotland this month, the Liverpool striker was banned and heavily fined.

Award categories:
Footballer of the Year:
El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool and Senegal)

Young player of the Year:
Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam (Ajax Amsterdam and Egypt)

Goalkeeper of the Year:
Tony Sylva (Senegal)

Coach of the Year
Bruno Metsu (Senegal)

Club of the Year
Zamalek (Egypt)

Best (Televised) Goal
Pape Bouba Diop (Senegal v Uruguay)

Team of the Year

Women's Player of the Year
Alberta Sackey (Ghana)

Best African Champions League Player
Hicham Aboucherouane (Raja Casablanca, Morocco)

Youth Development Award
Ghana Football Association

Merit Achievement Award
Mwade Wade (Senegal)

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30 Mar 03  |  African

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