The shortlist of 30 players that will be considered for the 2016 African Player of the Year award has been whittled down to the top five by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Current African Player of the Year from Gabon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the five players included on the final shortlist, alongside Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City, and fellow Algerian Islam Slimani.
Liverpool striker Sadio Mane of Senegal is another potential award winner among the final five, with Roma’s Egyptian starlet Mohamed Salah completing the lineup of players vying for the 2016 individual accolade.
Head coaches or technical directors of the 54 national associations affiliated to CAF plus associate members, Reunion Island and Zanzibar, will vote alongside a panel of selected experts in the media to determine the eventual winner.
The African Player of the Year for 2016 will be revealed on Thursday, January 5 at the Glo-CAF 2016 Awards Gala in Abuja, Nigeria.
The favourites for the award appear to be current holder Aubameyang and Algerian Mahrez, with both talented attacking players included in the list of nominees for the Ballon d’Or, which is the accolade reserved for the best player in the world.
Mahrez would be a worthy winner this year, considering the enormity of the task that was managed at Leicester City last season when the Foxes won the English Premier League, due to his important role in securing the title against 5000-1 odds from the bookmakers. I doubt those same bookmakers would bet against Mahrez winning the individual African award early next year.
The five final African Player of the Year nominees:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borrusia Dortmund)
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
Sadio Mané (Senegal & Liverpool)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)
Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)