Joel Matip made the CAF Team of the Year for the first time, capping a brilliant 2019.
He’s not the only one, of course. Both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also made the team, each receiving their third inclusion.
It also means it’s the second year in a row that three Liverpool players made the team, with the usual duo featuring last year alongside Naby Keita.
But it’s all about Matip this year, who makes the team for the very first time in his career.
🇨🇲 Joel Matip
🇲🇦 Hakim Ziyech
🇸🇳 #SadioMane@FIFProAfrica's Best 1⃣1⃣ for 2⃣0⃣1⃣9⃣! #CAFAwards2019 pic.twitter.com/7pWbAjgelD
— #TotalCAFCL 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 7, 2020
What RTK has to say
What a year Matip had. We named Matip as one of the three most-improved players of 2019 – and that’s an understatement.
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The 28-year-old rose from fourth-choice centre-half at Liverpool to one of the best in the Premier League. He even won a Premier League Player of the Month award earlier this season.
But the highlight was undoubtedly the Champions League win. Despite only getting a run in the side because of injuries to others, Matip helped see out vital clean-sheets against Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur.
Matip was exemplary in both games, earning his medal as much as anyone.
And so his inclusion in the CAF Team of the Year for 2019 is thoroughly deserved. Matip may face a fight once he’s back from injury but for 2019, there were very, very few on his level in defence.