The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced the shortlist for the African Player of the year award, the continent’s biggest individual soccer prize.
The five-man list includes reigning African footballer of the year, and Bundesliga’s Player of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, English (PFA) Players’ Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Islam Slimani.
The top five was decided by votes from the members of the CAF Media Committee, CAF Technical and Development Committee, and half of the 20-member Panel of Experts (10 persons).
Algerian national and Leicester City’s sensational winger, Mahrez is a strong contender to clinch the top award. Mahrez won the English Premier League trophy with the Foxes, and he was also crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year, a remarkable and unprecedented feat by an African player.
The reigning African footballer of the year Aubameyang also made history when he became the first African player to be voted German Bundesliga’s Player of the Year. Aubameyang had a remarkable season with Borussia Dortmund scoring 25 goals in 31 league games for the German club.
The slippery Liverpool winger Mane will be hoping to make history by becoming only the second Senegalese player to win the coveted award after El Hadji Diouf won it on two occasions, in 2001 and 2002. Mane had a remarkable season with Southampton last term, scoring 11 Premier League goals for the Saints before he was signed by Liverpool for £34 million. Mane is now the most expensive African player in history.
Also making up the list is Algeria’s Islam Slimani, who recently joined Leicester City in England, and Egyptian Salah who has impressed in Serie A with Roma.
CAF said the final winner will be decided by votes from head coaches/technical directors of the 54 national associations and associate members, as well as 10 members of its expert panel.
The 2016 Glo-CAF Awards Gala will be held on Thursday, 5 January 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.
For the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa), the top five are;
- Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns & Zimbabwe)
- Keegan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)
- Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe & Zambia)
- Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)
- Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns & Uganda)