The five nominees for the BBC African Footballer of the Year award for 2016 have been announced, with four English Premier League stars and the current African Player of the Year from the Bundesliga named in the shortlist.
The African players who are in the running to take the prestigious media award include Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane, West Ham United’s Ghanaian winger Andre Ayew, Leicester City’s Algerian star Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City’s Ivorian Yaya Toure and Borussia Dortmund striker from Gabon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The recipient of the award will be decided by fans around the world who will vote for their choice before November 28, with the winner announced on Monday, December 12.
Senegalese striker Mane has made an excellent impact at Liverpool since becoming the most expensive African player in history with a record $42.6 million move from Southampton, where he was successful with the Saints, scoring eight Premier League goals for Southampton during this year, including a hat-trick against Manchester City.
He has done well since the high profile move to Merseyside, with six goals so far from 11 appearances in Liverpool colours.
Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez is a definite contender for this award, having been instrumental in his club’s incredible Premier League title triumph in the 2015-16 season.
The Foxes managed to take the title against 5000-1 odds thanks in a big part to the Algerian 25-year-old’s 17 league goals, while his fellow soccer players voted for him as the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year.
The 2015 African Player of the Year had another standout season with German club Borussia Dortmund, where his attacking talents were fully appreciated, leading to his place among the BBC African Footballer of the Year nominees.
His 26 goals for Dortmund during the course of the year so far has been a huge contribution to his club, allowing him to become the first African to be named Bundesliga player of the year. He has also been included on the shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or alongside fellow African nominee Mahrez.
Ayew completed a club-record $27 million move to English Premier League side West Ham United from Swansea City on a three-year deal at the start of the season, but unfortunately suffered an injury that kept him on the sidelines until recently.
Before that, however, the 26-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 appearances for Swansea City while contributing to the Ghana national team.
The four-time African player of the year is included amongst the nominees for the BBC award this year, even though at the moment he is at odds with Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola due to a spat between the player’s agent and his Spanish coach, and has had very little playing time at the club.
Toure contributed to his club winning the English League Cup this year, scoring the winning penalty as they beat Liverpool in a shootout in the final. He recently decided to retire from the Cote D’Ivoire national team, ending his international career as an African champion.
With award season currently underway, four of the five BBC African Footballer of the Year nominees are also nominated for the CAF African Player of the Year prize for 2016, with Yaya Toure not named on that particular shortlist for the year.