30 Players Nominated For The 2016 African Player Of The Year Award

30 Players Nominated For The 2016 African Player Of The Year Award

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The shortlist of 30 nominees for the 2016 African Player of the Year award has been announced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) ahead of the winner’s announcement in the new year.

The majority of those announced are based in Europe, while some based on the African continent have also been included in the list of Africa’s top 30 stars for the year.

The shortlist will be cut down to a final handful of nominees in the coming months, before the winner of the accolade is announced on Thursday, January 5 at the Glo-CAF 2016 Awards Gala in Abuja, Nigeria.

Below are the 30 players who have been nominated for the 2016 African Player of the Year award.

Sources: CAFOnline, AfricaRanking, Sport24, NewsTalk.

Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa has been recognised for his efforts with a nomination – dw.de

Ahmed Musa (Nigeria & Leicester City)

Leicester City’s new Nigerian winger is one of the 30 African players who have been identified as a nominee for the top CAF award. The speedy former CSKA Moscow player is still finding his feet in the Premier League, but this honour will certainly build his confidence.

André Ayew
André Ayew has been nominated for the award – todayafrica.com

Andre Ayew (Ghana & West Ham)

Still recovering from injury at the moment, the West Ham record-signing scored 12 Premier League goals last season with Swansea City, and was one of the top three nominees for the same award last year.

Aymen Abdennour – onlyfootball.fr
Aymen Abdennour is amongst the 30 African nominees – onlyfootball.fr

Aymen Abdennour (Tunisia & Valencia)

The Tunisian defender is one of those versatile players who is dangerous in attack while solid in defence. Abdennour is part of a select group of African defenders included on this shortlist.

Benjamin Moukandjo
Benjamin Moukandjo has enjoyed a positive year. Photo: alchetron.com

Benjamin Moukandjo (Cameroon & Lorient)

The Cameroonian was on fire in the French league last season, with 13 goals for FC Lorient from a total of 57 shots taken during his 31 Ligue 1 appearances in 2015-16. The 27-year-old Indomitable Lion was a crucial element of a successful relegation battle for his club side.

Cédric Bakambu scores for Villarreal
Cédric Bakambu scores for Villarreal (fourfourtwo.com)

Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)

The Democratic Republic of Congo international has been in excellent scoring form for the Yellow Submarine in La Liga. The 25-year-old Villarreal striker has enjoyed interest from English Premier League clubs and Barcelona after scoring 22 goals in all competitions last season.

Sundowns' Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Photo: Kickoff
Sundowns’ Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Photo: Kickoff

Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

A special goalkeeper that many pundits rate as one of the best on the continent, the Ugandan has been instrumental in qualifying the Cranes for the AFCON for the first time in 38 years, while getting his club side Sundowns to the final of the CAF Champions League with his safe hands.

El Arabi Hillel Soudani for Algeria. Photo: foot mercato
El Arabi Hillel Soudani for Algeria. Photo: foot mercato

El Arabi Hillel Soudani (Algeria & Dinamo Zagreb)

Powerful striker El Arabi Hillel Soudani scored an extra time winner for Dinamo Zagreb to beat Salzburg in the playoffs and secure their spot in the Champions League group stage place, but his place on the shortlist serves to recognise his entire year in which he has done well.

Transfer season - Eric Bailly is a Man United player
Eric Bailly is a Man United player – goal.com

Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United)

Fitting in well with Jose Mourinho’s new Manchester United side, the strong Ivorian defender has been tough to beat at the back for the Reds, winning a few Man-of-the-Match nods at the start of the campaign. He is one of only a few defenders on this list.

Hakim Ziyech. Photo: ESPNFC
Hakim Ziyech is a free kick specialist. Photo: ESPNFC

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax)

The Dutch-born Moroccan attacking midfielder completed a move to Ajax Amsterdam this year after impressing with rivals FC Twente. His ability with set pieces continues to be a secret weapon for the Moroccan international.

2016 African Player Of The Year
Algerians Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez – football365.com

Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)

A new transfer into the English Premier League, Algerian Islam Slimani scored 27 goals for Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season. He is a natural striker with an obvious instinct for scoring goals.

Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune. Photo: Kickoff
Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune. Photo: Kickoff

Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)

The Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper has been a crucial performer for both club and national team. He was also selected for the Olympic team as one of the side’s overage players, and he did phenomenally well in Brazil.

John Obi Mikel - Turkish clubs
John Obi Mikel is amongst the Nigerian nominees – howng.com

John Obi Mikel (Nigeria & Chelsea)

The Nigerian midfielder has worked hard to contribute for the Super Eagles and English Premier League club Chelsea, though at club level his team struggled for part of the year. He was selected to play for the Nigerian Olympic team at Rio 2016, coming third at the end of the competition.

Serie A: Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly has been a standout performer in Serie A – foxsports.com

Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli)

Koulibaly recently signed an extension to his Napoli deal, ending speculation of a move away from the club. The Italians have done well to cement his future, as he is a strong and determined defender that solidifies the backline like few can. His performances for Napoli over the year present him as the best defensive performer on this list.

South African talent Keagan Dolly. Photo: The New Age
South African talent Keagan Dolly. Photo: The New Age

Keagan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)

The talented South African youngster has been an important contributor to club side Mamelodi Sundowns’ run to the CAF Champions League final, while doing well for the South African Olympic and national team squads.

Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City in UEFA Champions League
Kelechi Iheanacho is a star for the future – dailymail.co.uk

Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)

The 19-year-old Nigerian striker broke onto the English Premier League scene in his debut season last term, scoring 14 goals for the blue half of Manchester, and this acknowledgement will motivate him to continue his rise in Europe.

Based in Africa - Mamelodi Sundowns enjoying success this season. Photo: kickoff.com
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Billiat is enjoying success this season. Photo: kickoff.com

Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)

Another of the Sundowns players on this list, livewire Zimbabwean talent Billiat has been a prolific goalscorer while creating opportunities for his club on the continental and domestic stage. He has also done well for the Zimbabwe national team, as they qualified for the 2017 AFCON.

Tanzanian talent Mbwana Samatta at Genk. Photo: wordpress.com
Tanzanian talent Mbwana Samatta at Genk. Photo: wordpress.com

Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania & Genk)

Last year’s African Player of the Year based in Africa award winner has since made his move to Europe from DR Congo giants TP Mazembe, and is now nominated amongst the top 30 players after a positive transition at Belgian club Genk.

Mehdi Benatia
Mehdi Benatia moved from Bayern Munich to Juventus in the transfer window – africatopsports.com

Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)

The experienced Moroccan defender made the switch from Bayern Munich to Juventus during the European summer, and he provides the Bianconeri with a reliable defender capable of threatening in attack from corners and set piece situations.

Mohamed Elneny
Mohamed Elneny is a hardworking utility player from Egypt – Arsenal.com

Mohamed El Neny (Egypt & Arsenal)

The Egyptian midfielder has done well at Arsenal, comfortably finding his feet since moving to England from Basel last season. His work ethic and consistency have been major boosts for the Gunners, while earning him a place on this shortlist.

Mohamed Salah for Roma
Mohamed Salah is doing well in attack for Roma – 90min.com

Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)

The 24-year-old winger has been a revelation in Egyptian football, and has done well in the Italian Serie A with excellent performances for Roma over the course of the year. The youngster is composed and plays with experience beyond his years, helping his country to AFCON qualification and a good start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Aubameyang is the current African Player of the Year. Photo: fifa.com

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Dortmund)

Current African Player of the Year from Gabon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on the shortlist, and will be among the top candidates being considered. His goalscoring form in Germany and in Europe continues to thrust him in the spotlight.

Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez was an important contributor to Leicester City’s EPL title win – leicestermercury.co.uk

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)

One of the favourites to win this award, the star of Leicester City’s successful title winning campaign in 2015-16 continues to showcase the supreme skill and pace that allowed him to contribute 17 goals and 11 assists last term.

Sadio Mane Named PFA Fans' Premier League Player Of The Month
Sadio Mane for Liverpool – skysports.com

Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane signed for Liverpool from Southampton during the transfer window, and he has quickly found his feet in Merseyside. The powerful attacker with excellent finishing is one of the many players on this list that swapped clubs at the beginning of the season.

Samuel Eto'o Businessman - African Soccer Players
Samuel Eto’o Businessman – ivogueontv.blogspot.com

Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon & Antalyaspor)

A four time winner of this award, Eto’o has been included in the list, but is unlikely to feature in the final selection of players for the last phase of voting. Fellow perennial winner Yaya Toure did not make the shortlist, however, due to a lack of playing time during the year.

Serge Aurier
Serge Aurier is another of the defenders on this list – 101greatgoals.com

Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire & PSG)

One of the few defenders on this 30-man shortlist, Paris Saint-Germaine back Serge Aurier has been an important performer for club and country, as the Ivorian looks ahead to the defence of the AFCON title with the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire.

Victor Wanyama in training at Tottenham
Victor Wanyama in training at Tottenham – dailymail.co.uk

Victor Wanyama (Kenya & Tottenham)

The Kenyan midfielder was a standout performer for Southampton last season, and that form earned him a move to Tottenham in the transfer window. The combative Wanyama is well known and respected for his work-rate and determination on the pitch.

Wahbi Khazri playing for Sunderland. Photo: ITV
Wahbi Khazri played an important part in Sunderland’s survival last season. Photo: ITV

Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia & Sunderland)

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder was crucial to club side Sunderland remaining in the Premier League at the end of last season. The Tunisian international’s free kicks created many goals, while he himself scored in victories against Manchester United and Chelsea last season.

William Jebor in action for Wydad Casablanca. Photo: KingFut
William Jebor in action for Wydad Casablanca. Photo: KingFut

William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)

The Liberian striker was one of the top performers for Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca over the course of the year, helping them to reach the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League with his scoring boots. The 24-year-old has also been on target for the Liberia national team during 2016.

English Premier League - Yannick Bolasie signs for Everton
Yannick Bolasie signed for Everton this season – skysports.com

Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo & Everton)

New Everton signing Bolasie is a Congolese winger with great ability, and after completing a $33 million move from Crystal Palace, the pressure will be on for him to deliver in 2016-17. This nomination will be a welcome distraction for the star player.

Ivorian Gervinho is a key Cote D'Ivoire player. Photo: bleacherreport
Ivorian Gervinho is a key Cote D’Ivoire player. Photo: bleacherreport

Gervinho (Cote d’Ivoire & Hebei Fortune)

The Ivorian star player whose real name is Yao Kouasi Gervais made a move to Chinese Super League club Hebei Fortune during the course of the year, but before the move he excelled at Serie A club Roma.