The Best Of Africa 20XVII awards took place at London’s Rosewood Hotel on the evening of Monday April 24. The awards saw Premier League stars celebrating a lesser-known side of the African footballing community.
Crystal Palace centre-back Mamdou Sakho was honoured with the Philanthropic Endeavour Leadership award, while Chelsea star N’Golo Kante was honoured for his strength and ability on and off the pitch, and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Watford’s Younès Kaboul won the esteemed outstanding achievement awards.
Other winners included newly promoted Brighton’s manager Chris Hughton and Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama.
Paris-born Sakho was congratulated for his charity work off the field, and continuous efforts in helping disadvantaged children in the UK, France and Senegal through his charity AMSAK.
Sakho, who attended with his wife Majda, said:
I am honoured and very happy to receive this award. Through AMSAK my wife and I try to help people in need. We are good people and we know where we come from, and we want to give something back. Even if you have a small image you can use it to create good, and that is what we try to do. We put a light in a few caves and use what influence we have to try to help other people.
The Best of Africa awards recognises this and we are happy to celebrate what we can all do to give something back through our success.
Leading African philanthropist and social entrepreneur Tsitsi Masiyiwa, founder of the Higher Life Foundation was the keynote speaker at this year’s awards, and presented Sakho with his trophy.
Mrs Masiyawa is a leading African philanthropist and social entrepreneur who has devoted much of her life to empowering disadvantaged children through education and harnessing technology to create employment opportunities for young people.
The Best of Africa 20XVII awards was a celebration of the charity work of Premier League footballers of African heritage. Now in its sixth year, the event saw a host of top flight players joined by representatives from the highest echelons of the business and charity worlds. Awards for philanthropic endeavour include Leadership, Youth Engagement and Community Action.
A total of ten categories were handed to the BoA panel for discussion. The Best of Africa panel of judges is a collection of specially selected representatives from across the football and media communities.
Comprising ambassadors from the FA and Premier League, as well as some of the most influential names in sports media, the panel deliberated for more than three weeks and their chosen winner were announced at the exclusive black tie dinner in front of more than 200 esteemed guests.
Best of Africa founder, Francis Nkwain, said:
The award 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 Tsitsi Masiyiwa speaking at Best of Africa awards was a huge honour.
Her work with students in Africa has inspired thousands, and her story is one that needs to be shared worldwide. Championing the philanthropic endeavours of people like Tsitsi, Mamadou, 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!
Full list of categories and winners:
PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVOUR: LEADERSHIP WINNER: MAMADOU SAKHO
PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVOUR: ADVOCACY WINNER: RACHEL YANKEY
PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVOUR: YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – WINNER: VICTOR WANYAMA
PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVOUR: COMMUNITY ACTION WINNER: CURTIS DAVIES
PHILANTHROPIC ENDEAVOUR: COMMUNITY ACTION WINNER: CRYSTAL PALACE
THE BAOBAB AWARD WINNER: N’GOLO KANTE
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: MANAGEMENT
INTERNATIONAL WINNER: HUGO BROOS
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: MANAGEMENT WINNER: CHRIS HUGHTON
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: CAREER WINNER: YOUNES KABOUL & YAYA TOURE