Leicester City’s Premier League champion Riyad Mahrez, Liverpool striker Sadio Mane and Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are still in the running for the African Player of the Year award, the African Football Confederation (CAF) has said.
Following a vote of coaches and technical directors of African national teams, CAF committee members, and media representatives, the trio came out on top, eliminating Mahrez’s Leicester teammate Islam Slimani and Roma’s Mohamed Salah from the original five-man shortlist
Aubameyang, 27, ended Yaya Toure’s four-year dominance of the title last year, and following an impressive 12 months with Dortmund he could again pick up the prize when it is handed out in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Jan. 5.
After finishing runner-up in the Bundesliga with his club and to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in last season’s goal-scoring charts, the Gabon international has netted 16 times in 15 top-flight outings in Germany this season.
Mahrez, 25, became the first African to be named the Premier League’s Player of the Year last season after playing a central role in Leicester’s shock title win.
The Algeria international contributed 17 goals and 11 assists in the Foxes’ historic triumph, but has struggled to match that this term, scoring just three and teeing up another two in 17 Premier League matches.
Senegal striker Mane, 24, is the outsider in the race. The Liverpool forward has scored eight goals and registered four assists this season after moving to Anfield from Southampton last summer.
He scored 11 times and provided another six goals for teammates as the Saints finished sixth last season.
The three players are expected to feature for their respective countries when the African Nations Cup kicks off in Gabon on Jan. 14.