Caf has published the shortlist for the 2012 African Footballer of the Year award composed of 10 players, including current holder, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
The five nominees for the Best African Player on the continent were also released alongside other categories for which winners will be announced at the Awards Gala scheduled to take place in Accra, Ghana on December 20.
Three Ivorians including Yaya Toure, Gervinho of Arsenal and two-time winner Didier Drogba feature on the list. Their contributions to the Elephants’ near flawless campaign at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, which they narrowly lost to Zambia on penalties in a tense final, have been taken into account.
However, the former Chelsea talisman most probably owes his nomination to his outstanding performance during the final of the Uefa Champions League in May, in which the Blues clinched their first ever title against German side Bayern Munich.
Ghana’s Andre Ayew, who was in the final trio last year, had a worthwhile 2011-12 season, scoring 16 goals in the French Ligue 1 with Marseille. His 2012 Afcon outing with the Black Stars, who reached the semi-finals, was also considered.
As widely expected, Zambia captain Christopher Katongo made the list, for leading his side to their first Afcon title at the Gabon-Equatorial Guinea competition and for his role in the Chipolopolo’s recent qualification for the 2013 tournament.
Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Newcastle’s Demba Ba of Senegal and Younes Belhanda from Morocco were included for their remarkable efforts at club and national team levels, while Barcelona's new signing Alexander Song was picked for contributing to Arsenal’s impressive fight to finish in the English Premier League top three last season.
Nigeria’s Mikel Obi was vital to Chelsea’s success in winning the Uefa Champions League and an FA Cup title last season. Although he did not play at the 2012 Afcon due to Nigeria’s failure to qualify, the 25-year-old could not be left out of the list.
Shortlist for the 2012 African Footballer of the Year award in alphabetical order
Alexander Song, Cameroon
Andre Ayew, Ghana
Christopher Katongo, Zambia
Demba Ba, Senegal
Didier Drogba, Cote D’Ivoire
Gervinho, Cote D’Ivoire
John Obi Mikel, Nigeria
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon
Yaya Toure, Cote D’Ivoire
Younes Belhanda, Morocco
Shortlist for African Player of the Year based in Africa
Mohamed Aboutreika, Egypt
Rainford Kalaba, Zambia
Stoppila Sunzu, Zambia
Yannick N’Djeng, Cameroon
Youssef Msakni, Tunisia
Other Awards categories
1. National Team of the Year
2. Women’s Footballer of the Year
3. Women’s National Team of the Year
4. Club of the Year
5. Most Promising Talent of the Year
6. Coach of the Year
7. Referee of the Year
8. Legend Award
9. Fair Play Award
10. Platinum Award
11. Africa Finest XI
The above shortlists, which were decided by Caf’s technical, football and media committees, will now be passed on to head coaches and technical directors from Caf member associations who will vote to decide the eventual winners.