After winning the 2019 CAF African Footballer of the Year award, Sadio Mane was scheduled to attend celebrations in Senegal but it has now been revealed why the Liverpool star had to miss his own party.
Mane was crowned Africa's best player on Tuesday night after beating off competition from Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez, and Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah.
Following the awards ceremony in Egypt, the Senegal international was meant to return to his homeland but was forced to return to England instead after the private jet he was travelling in was refused permission to fly over Tunisia.
Click through the gallery below for images of other winners from the CAF Awards ceremony
"It was my plan to first fly to Senegal to thank the people of my country and recognise them for everything they have given me on my journey, but unfortunately we were unable to make the visit," Mane said after missing the celebrations, as reported by Sky Sports.
"Now we (Liverpool) have a big match against Tottenham this weekend which I must focus on and be ready for, but it is true I am disappointed I was unable to return home to say thank you because of some problems beyond our control.
"So, I will return to Senegal as soon as possible because it is something very important to me - I will never forget what everybody did for me, everybody who believed in me and everybody who gave me the chance to play football."
Mane enjoyed a stellar year in 2019, scoring 31 club goals for Liverpool en route to UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles, and reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.
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