The CAF president said at the 2016 Glo CAF Awards in Abuja, Nigeria that marked the 60th anniversary of the continental body “starts a new cycle in the marketing of the commercialisation and media rights of our competitions”.
The ceremony, which announced Mahrez as the best player on the continent without controversy for the first time, saw his closest rival, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, quick to shower praises on the Leicester City forward for the feat.
Ironically, as Ghana missed out on the awards, hosts Nigeria were the envy of many as they picked four awards.
They opened the night hopefully when the Super Falcons won the Women's National Team of the Year award, followed by the Most Promising Talent in Manchester City's Kelechi Promise Iheanacho; Youth Player of the Year, Alex Iwobi of Arsenal; and Women's Player of the Year in Asisat Lamina Oshoala.
President Mahamudu Buhari, spiced it all up with the Platinum Award for his exemplary commitment and support for the development of football.
The other winners were as follows: Dennis Onyango (African Player of the Year – Based in Africa), Mamelodi Sundowns (Club of the Year), Mamelodi Sundowns Head Coach, Pitso Mosimane (Coach of the Year), Uganda (National Team of the Year), Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama (Referee of the Year), and Manuel Lopez Nascimento, president of Guinea-Bissau FA (Football Leader of the Year) for ensuring his team's qualification to the Gabon 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, football pundits have praised the standard of African Football after the opening day matches between Gabon and Guinea Bissau, as we as the exciting encounter between Burkina Faso and Cameroun, which all ended in 1-1 draw.
The pundits also praised the organization of the tournament and the quality of the pitch in Libreville which added to the beauty and quality of performance.
For the records, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang from Gabon scored the first goal of Gabon 2017.