Algeria and Leicester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez has been crowned the winner of this year’s BBC African Footballer of the Year award. Mahrez’s victory marks the first time he has won the accolade.

The BBC’s Peter Okwoche announced Mahrez as the winner during a special presentation within today’s Focus on Africa programme on BBC World Service and BBC World News.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri joined Okwoche at the club’s training ground to present Mahrez with the coveted trophy.

The 2016 competition saw hundreds of thousands of football fans vote from around the world.

Mahrez emerged as the most popular player in a competitive shortlist that also included Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Borussia Dortmund), André Ayew (Ghana and West Ham United), Sadio Mané (Senegal and Liverpool F.C.) and Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast and Manchester City).

Riyad Mahrez says: “"It means a lot, it's something big for African players so I am very happy, I am very proud. It's always good to receive awards and for African players, it's a huge honour.

"To all the fans, thank you very much. I just have to carry on and keep going with my football and see what I can do".

It has been a brilliant year for Riyad Mahrez. He was a driving force in Leicester City's shock title triumph scoring 17 goals and providing 11 assists.

He also excelled on the international stage for Algeria to help them qualify for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, delivering five assists and two goals across five matches.

Mahrez was also voted Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year – the first African to win the award – and his achievements have been recognised by football's world governing body Fifa, which included him on its shortlist for Player of the Year.

Previous winners of the award include Yaya Touré (2015); Yacine Brahimi (2014); Yaya Touré (2013); Christopher Katongo (2012); and André Ayew (2011).

 

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