Leicester City's Algerian playmaker Riyad Mahrez is awarded the African Footballer of the Year award at a ceremony in Abuja.
SENDING WITH FULL SCRIPT SHOWS: ABUJA, NIGERIA, (JANUARY 5, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. FINALISTS LEICESTER CITY AND ALGERIA MIDFIELDER RIYAD MAHREZ , LIVERPOOL AND SENEGAL FORWARD SADIO MANE AND BORUSSIA DORTMUND'S GABONESE FORWARD PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG ON STAGE 2. MAHREZ BEING ANNOUNCED AS THE WINNER OF THE AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR / MANE EMBRACING HIM 3. VARIOUS OF MAHREZ SHAKING HANDS AND RECEIVING AWARD 4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR, RIYAD MAHREZ, SAYING: "I want to thank everyone who came today for this award and it is a usual not to receive this award. I am very happy I'm very pleased. I want thank all my team mates from Leicester and from Algeria, my managers and my president of the federation Algeria and I want to dedicate to my family and all the Africans, of course Algerian as well and all the people who support me everyday around Africa and around the world. Thank you." 5. MAHREZ AND MANE WALKING OFF STAGE STORY: Riyad Mahrez, who inspired Leicester City to an extraordinary Premier League title triumph last season, was named African Footballer of the Year on Thursday (January 5). Algeria's Mahrez, the creative linchpin of Leicester's stunning success, was chosen ahead of 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool's Sadio Mane in a poll of African national team coaches, technical directors and media experts. The Leicester player received 361 votes, ahead of Aubameyang's 313 and Mane's 186 with the result announced at the annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards in the Nigerian capital. The 25-year-old Mahrez is the third French-born player to win the award, after Frederic Kanoute and Aubameyang, and the third Algerian international since Lakhdar Belloumi in 1981 and Rabah Madjer in 1987. It is the seventh time in nine years that the winner has come from an English Premier League club. "I want to thank all my team mates at Leicester and Algeria and my coaches. This is a huge honour for me," Mahrez said on receiving the award. Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho was named Africa's Most Promising Talent and Arsenal's Alex Iwobi Youth Player of the Year at the CAF awards. There was also recognition for Arsenal's Nigerian player Asisat Oshoala, who clinched the Women's Player of the Year award.