CAF has released a shorter list of final round nominees for the title of African Player of the Year. The list has been cut down from its original 25 now to 10, and the winner of the coveted award will be one of those 10.
Very briefly, here is a bit of detail on each of the ten:
1. Mohamed Aboutrika – Al Ahly/Egypt: Helped Al Ahly to yet another African Champions League title. Has been ever present in Egyptian football, and very influential too.
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund/Gabon: Top striker who proved his mettle at St Etienne in France before moving up-scale to last season’s UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.
3. Didier Drogba – Galatasaray/Cote d’Ivoire: Celebrated star of African football. Has won the Player of the Year twice – in 2007 and 2010 for his exploits with Chelsea FC and Cote d’Ivoire. He is now playing in Turkey.
4. Emmanuel Emenike – Fernabahce/Nigeria – Prolific, physically strong striker who helped Nigeria to African Cup glory early in the year, and also to qualification for the 2014 World Cup with pivotal goals at all stages.
5. Vincent Enyeama – Lille/Nigeria: Veteran goalkeeper at only 31 years old, he has been the man in the sticks for Nigeria for ten years now. Was in goal throughout Nigeria’s Cup-winning campaign in South Africa and all through World Cup qualification. He has capped it with some superlative performances for his clubside Lille FC, currently on 11 straight clean sheets and still counting.
6. Asamoah Gyan – Al Ain/Ghana: Top Ghana striker who has excelled in World Cup qualification for his country. He is making waves in the UAE where he plays his club football.
7. Ahmed Musa – CSKA/Nigeria: Versatile winger who was central in Nigeria’s African Cup triumph early in the year, and also in World Cup qualifying. He has cemented a place in CSKA’s starting line-up and appeared in the UEFA Champions League for his club.
8. John Mikel Obi – Chelsea/Nigeria: Another impressive year from the player who has braved all odds and put in a performance that coaches keep wanting more of. He was pivotal in Nigeria’s African Cup winning team, their World Cup qualification and has beaten all comers to still be an established first team player in Chelsea FC, steering them to the knockout stages of the Champions League and second in the English League.
9. Jonathan Pitroipa – Rennes/Burkina Faso: Impressive and versatile midfielder who burst onto the scene early in the year during the African Cup of Nations. He helped his nation to the final of the African Cup and he was the discovered star of the competition. A great year that would have been greater if his country could have made it to the World Cup. But they lost at the final hurdle to Algeria.
10. Yaya Toure – Manchester City/Cote d’Ivoire: Highly influential impact player for both club and country. A player who won the last edition of Player of the Year in Africa and is reigning BBC African Player of the Year. Continues to churn out great performances for Manchester City and helped Cote d’Ivoire through an almost too-easy qualification for Brazil 2014.
Who will be your African Player of the Year, of these ten? Is there any player you think, who should be there but is not included?
Let us know. Africa needs to honour its best, and recognise the ones that we have.