Mane, Salah, Koulibaly: 2019 African Team of the Year named at CAF awards

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The 2019 CAF Awards celebrated another brilliant year of African football on Tuesday night.

It's been a year where some of the world's best players have hailed from the continent and the sport celebrated its nations at the latest instalment of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Sadio Mane took the headlines with the African Footballer of the Year award, rounding off a stellar 2019, while Algeria were heralded as the Team of the Year.

Riyad Mahrez won the Goal of the Year for his winner against Nigeria, although the Manchester Derby prevented him from attending, and plenty more African stars were celebrated on the night.

But perhaps the most exciting show of African talent came when the 2019 best XI was named.

African Team of the Year

Featuring players from the likes of Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, it goes to show that many of the sport's best players are representing African nations.

So, without further ado, check out the selected XI that we believe could take on almost every club and country in the world:

GK - Andre Onana (Ajax)

What a year it was for Onana. The Cameroonian shot-stopper made some incredible saves on Ajax's route to the Champions League semi-finals as well as the Dutch domestic double.

Valencia CF v AFC Ajax: Group H - UEFA Champions League

RB - Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)

Surely Zinedine Zidane will be looking to incorporate Hakimi at Real Madrid after a superb loan spell in Germany, which has brought six goals from just 17 games down the right flank.

Slavia Praha v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

CB - Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

There's a reason Koulibaly is linked with the world's best clubs every transfer window and his value has only increased with another superb year that earned him a Ballon d'Or nomination.

SSC Napoli v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

CB - Joel Matip (Liverpool)

Say what you like about Matip, but the Cameroonian has looked like a world-beater alongside Virgil van Dijk in a Liverpool side that looks destined to be the Premier League's greatest ever.

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

LB - Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur)

Perhaps the only weak link in this remarkable team. Nevertheless, there can be no denying that Aurier dropped some world-class displays in Tottenham's charge to the Champions League final.

Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League

CDM - Idrissa Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain)

Gueye always looked like a brilliant player during his Everton days, but he's gone from strength to strength at PSG and his individual performance against Real Madrid won't easily be forgotten.

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CM - Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)

Another jewel in the Ajax crown, Ziyech scored against Real Madrid and Spurs on their European odyssey and already has 18 goal contributions in just 17 Eredivisie games this season.

Ajax v PAOK Saloniki - UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round

CM - Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

Mahrez was inspirational in Algeria's victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring THAT free-kick to win the semi-final, and his time at the Etihad Stadium has been woefully underrated.

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RW - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

You know you're a top player when your 'off-season' still sees you win the Premier League Golden Boot and Salah has opened the new campaign with the bit between his teeth, scoring 14 goals.

Liverpool FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

ST - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Speaking of the Golden Boot... Aubameyang was also one of the joint recipients and the fact he's already scored 56 goals for Arsenal despite their struggles proves he's one of the world's best.

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LW - Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

The best player in Africa. Mane should have finished third in the Ballon d'Or votes for his inspiring displays on the way to Champions League glory and a historic Africa Cup of Nations final.

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

What. A. Team.

It's been an incredible year for African football and when you can compile an ultimate XI like the above, you've got to wonder whether it could win the Champions League or Premier League.

Seriously, the front three is made up of England's Golden Boot sharers and they're supported by a champion from the same country, someone who dominated Real and a European semi-finalist.

That's not to mention the fact one of the world's best defenders is playing at the back and one of the sport's rising goalkeepers is stood between the sticks. 

Liverpool FC v Sheffield United - Premier League

Perhaps the only weaknesses are the full-backs, but I'm pretty sure Hakimi and Aurier would still walk into plenty of the world's best teams regardless.

Africa has long been nicknamed the 'Mother Continent' and 2019 has proven that, similarly, it has continued to birth some of the best players in the beautiful game. 

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