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Best of Africa: A night of celebration

GOLDEN MOMENT: The night's winners

THE RECENT Best of Africa awards saw Premier League stars celebrating a lesser-known side of the African footballing community.

The BoA 20XVIII awards took place at London’s Rosewood Hotel in central London on April 30. Partnered with leading law firm Mischon de Reya and sponsored by Rainbow and Goal.com, the awards were presented by renowned comedian Eddie Kadi.

For on-field achievement, Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah was named Player of the Year whilst Manchester City’s Yaya Touré won the Outstanding Career award, and Brighton’s Chris Hughton the Outstanding Management accolade.

WINNERS

Other winners included Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi for his work with Arsenal in the Community and the Arsenal Foundation, Yannick Bolassie’s work through his YB3 platform and Newcastle’s Christian Atsu for his Arms Around The Child campaigning.

Atsu, an Ambassador for Arms Around the Child, a charity which pro- vides homes, education and care for vulnerable children in Africa, said: “I am honoured and very happy to receive this award.”

Hughton, who in February became the first African manager in the history of the Premier League to win Manager of the Month, said: “I’ve been involved with Best of Africa since its inception and am forever impressed by the continuing growth of this movement that celebrates the compassion and philanthropy of sports stars of African heritage.

“I am honoured to have received the Outstanding Achievement award, but I have really just been doing my job. So many of the people that surround us tonight do so much work campaigning for better living conditions and creating safe environments for some of Africa’s most vulnerable citizens, it’s a privilege to be part of a celebration of this.

“Best of Africa puts philanthropy at the forefront of the agenda and highlights some fantastic work, it’s a movement that should be championed and it fills me with pleasure to see the awards going from strength to strength every year.”

TIRELESS

United Nations deputy secretary general, H.E. Amina Mohammed delivered the keynote speaker at this year’s awards. A tireless campaigner for sustainability and environmental protection, as well as an active humanitarian and overseer of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Agenda, Ms Mohammed is a leading light in global affairs and shared tales of her experiences and duties working for the United Nations.

Now in its seventh year, the event saw a host of top flight players joined by representatives from the highest echelons of the business and charity Best of Africa founder, Francis Nkwain, said: “The event was a celebration of the great work undertaken by Premier League footballers of African heritage in the UK.

“Many people are not aware of the lengths these players go to off the pitch to enhance the lives of the communities that raised them. To have H.E. Amina Mohammed supporting the Best of Africa awards was a huge honour.

“Her work with the United Nations is an inspiration to us all but most importantly as Africans we celebrate the leadership our mothers and sisters are providing for the continent.

“Championing the philanthropic endeavours of people like Amina, Christian and Mohamed, and all of the Best of Africa award nominees and winners is our responsibility and our pleasure.

“We were honoured to have so many Premier League players attend the awards and are proud of everything they have achieved. We look forward to growing the Best of Africa family and are excited to start planning next year’s celebrations!”

Best of Africa winners:

Philanthropic endeavour leadership winner: Jean Ssenide
Philathropic endeavour leadership winner: Yaya Toure
Philanthropic endeavour advocacy winner: Christian Atsu
Philanthropic endeavour youth engagement winner: Yannick Bolasie
Philanthropic endeavour: community action winner: Alex Iwobi
Baobab award winners:
Mr Eazi (music) Vanessa Kingori (fashion)
Outstanding achievement: management winner: Chris Hughton
Outstanding achievement award career winner: Yaya Toure
Outstanding achievement player of the year: Mohamed Salah
Outstanding achievement young player under-21: Ryan Sessegnon

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