The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has revealed an initial list of 34 players for its 2012 African Footballer of the Year award.
Reigning African Footballer of the Year, Yaya Toure
Among the list of names is Ivory Coast and Manchester City star Yaya Toure, the reigning king of African football.
The shortlist also includes three players from African champions Zambia – captain Christopher Katongo and the TP Mazembe duo of Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu. Kalaba and Sunzu are two of three players on the list who currently play for African clubs. The other is Tunisia trickster Youssef Msakni who is at Esperance. Msakni, however, is set to leave the African club champions having agreed to join Qatari outfit Lekhwiya in January.
The trio is also the only players to appear on both the shortlists for the African Footballer of the Year and for the African Player of the Year.
The African Footballer of the Year award is the main prize and has predominantly been won by players based outside Africa. The African Player of the Year prize is reserved for players who currently ply their trade on the African continent.
“I am very happy to be nominated because it’s not easy,” Zambia’s Kalaba said. “There are a lot of talented players in Africa and for me to have made it to both shortlists, I am very humbled and happy. The chances of winning are 50/50. I can only wait for the final decision but I think everyone has a fair chance of winning.”
|Seeking to emulate King Kalu...|
Zambia captain Chris Katongo
Should one of the victorious Chipolopolo players win the African Footballer of the Year award they will emulate current Football Association of Zambia (Faz) president Kalusha Bwalya, who won the inaugural prize in 1988 and remains the only recipient of the award from Southern Africa.
A total of 34 players are on the shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year, while there is a 32 man list for the African Player of the Year award.
Caf will announce the top 10 nominees for the African Footballer of the Year and the top five contenders for African footballer of the Year by the end of the month.
The names of the respective finalists for both awards will then be sent to national associations, head coaches and secretary generals to select a top-three from which the winners will be chosen.
The awards ceremony, which will also include Coach of the Year and Club of the Year, will be held on December 20 at the Banquet Hall, State House in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
Nominees for African Player of the Year:
1. Abdelaziz Barrada - Getafe (Spain) and Morocco
2. Adel Taarabt - QPR (England) and Morocco
3. Alain Sibiri Traore - Lorient (France) and Burkina Faso
4. Alexander Song - Barcelona (Spain) and Cameroon
5. Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew - Marseille (France) and Ghana
6. Arouna Kone - Wigan (England) and Ivory Coast
7. Aymen Abdennour - Toulouse (France) and Tunisia
8. Bakaye Traore - AC Milan (Italy) and Mali
9. Cheick Tiote - Newcastle United (England) and Ivory Coast
10. Christopher Katongo - Henan Construction (China) and Zambia
11. Demba Ba - Newcastle United (England) and Senegal
12. Didier Drogba - Shanghai Shenhua (China) and Ivory Coast
13. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu - Udinese (Italy) and Ghana
14. Emmanuel Mayuka - Southampton (England) and Zambia
|New nominee... Nigeria's Victor Moses|
15. Foxi Kethevoama - FC Astana (Kazakhstan) and Central African Republic
16. Gervinho - Arsenal (England) and Ivory Coast
17. Hilaire Momi - Le Mans (France) and Central African Republic
18. John Obi Mikel - Chelsea (England) and Nigeria
19. John Utaka - Montpellier (France) and Nigeria
20. Kwadwo Asamoah - Juventus (Italy) and Ghana
21. Moussa Sow - Fenerbahce (Turkey) and Senegal
22. Nicolas N’koulou - Marseille (France) and Cameroon
23. Papiss Demba Cisse - Newcastle United (England) and Senegal
24. Pape Moussa Konate - FC Krasnodar (Russia) and Senegal
25. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - St Etienne (France) and Gabon
26. Rainford Kalaba - TP Mazembe (DR Congo) and Zambia
27. Seydou Doumbia - CSKA Moscow (Russia) and Ivory Coast
28. Seydou Keita - Dalian Aerbin (China) and Mali
29. Sofiane Feghouli - Valencia (Spain) and Algeria
30. Stoppila Sunzu - TP Mazembe (DR Congo) and Zambia
31. Victor Moses - Chelsea (England) and Nigeria
32. Yaya Toure - Manchester City (England) and Ivory Coast
33. Younes Belhanda - Montpellier (France) and Morocco
34. Youssef Msakni - Esperance (Tunisia) and Tunisia