The Confederation of African Football has unveiled its final five-man shortlist for the 2016 African Player of the Year award.
Borussia Dortmund’s Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who won the gong for 2015, was shortlisted for the prestigious award alongside Leicester City’s Algerian attacking duo Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, as well as Liverpool’s Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane and Roma’s Egyptian defender Mohamed Salah. The winner of the award sponsored by telecommunications giants Globacom will be announced during the Glo/CAF awards ceremony in Abuja on January 5, 2017.
Nigeria trio Mikel Obi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa were among the 30 players nominated for the award by CAF in October, but the African football’s governing body on Tuesday dropped them along with 22 others.
Aubameyang, 27, who is this season’s joint top-scorer with Cologne’s Anthony Modeste in the German Bundesliga, faces stiff competition from Premier League winner and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Mahrez, 25, for this year’s award.
Slimani, who joined the Foxes from Portuguese powerhouse Sporting Lisbon on a £29.8m summer transfer window deal, has been impressive for his new employers and his country this year.
The 28-year-old, who is Algeria’s fifth highest all-time goalscorer, missed Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Club Brugge due to a groin problem.
Mane has been a revelation since arriving at Anfield from Southampton this summer for around £30m.
The jet-heeled forward has scored 15 goals in all competitions as well as providing nine assists for his teammates.
Chelsea flop Salah has rejuvenated his career at Roma, and the 24-year-old has netted eight Serie A goals this term.
In the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) category, Denis Onyango, Hlompho Kekana, Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat from the 2016 Champions League-winning team Mamelodi Sundowns, as well as TP Mazembe’s Zambia captain Rainford Kalaba made the list .
According to CAF, the winners will be decided by votes from the head coaches and technical directors of the national associations affiliated to the body.