Gabadinho up against Senegal’s Pape Ousmane Sakho and Morocco’s Zouhair El Moutaraji for Goal of the Year award

The Flames’ talisman, Gabadinho Mhango — whose goal against Morocco at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroun has been shortlisted for CAF Goal of the Year award — is up against Senegal’s Pape Ousmane Sakho and Morocco’s Zouhair El Moutaraji.

The awards are scheduled for Thursday, July 21 in Rabat, Morocco, which will also identify other winners such as Player of the Year, whose nominees are Senegal’s Edouard Mendy (from English Premiership side, Chelsea); his compatriot Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich) and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

Interclub Player of the Year nominees are Morocco’s Achraf Dari (Wydad); Aliou Dieng (Al Ahly) and Egypt’s Mohamed El Shenawy (Al Ahly) while Young Player of the Year are Tunisian Hannibal Mejbri (Manchester United); Karim Konate (Côte d’Ivoire, RB Salzburg) and Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal, Tottenham Hotspur).

Senegal’s Aliou Cisse is nominated for Coach of the Year alongside Carlos Queiroz (Egypt) and Moroccan Walid Regragui (Wydad).

National Team of the Year has the 2021 African champions, Senegal alongside Cameroon and Egypt while Club of the Year (Men) has Al Ahly of Egypt and Moroccan sides RS Berkane And Wydad.

Through votes from football fans across Africa, including those from his compatriots, Gabadinho’s stunner against Morocco at the AFCON made Confederation of African Football (CAF) to shortlist it amongst the three.

Gaba, who finished as third top scorer at the Cameroun 2021 finals with three goals, scored after only seven minutes when he made no mistake from outside the box to curl in a shot that beat Morocco’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to the top corner.

The goal jilted the Moroccans, who responded by attacking in numbers that the Flames’ goalkeeper Charles Thom busy all the time to keep his team in the game but with two minutes into added time going for halftime, En-Nesyri made it 1-1 after nodding in a well taken corner kick by Sofiane Boufal.

The Flames were then hit where it hurts most when — after a lot of pressure on the defending line — Morocco scored to make it 2-1 in the 70th minute and went on to win the match.

This was Malawi’s first-ever qualification into the knockout stages of the AFCON finals in the third appearance after 1984 in Côte d’Ivoire and 2010 in Angola.

The goal left Gaba basking in global limelight with some media outlets of repute pitting his 40-metre fabulous strike as the goal of the tournament.

He had also been voted Player of the Match in the group stages against Zimbabwe.

In the group stages, the Flames first lost 0-1 against Guinea, beat Zimbabwe — fellow Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) member — before drawing 0-0 with Senegal to qualify for the knock out stages as the best third-placed.

Goalkeeper Charles Thom was also voted Player of the Match in the goalless last game of the group stages against the eventual champions, Senegal.

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