Borussia Dortmund’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Leicester City’s Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez and Liverpool’s Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane completed the final shortlist for the 2016 Glo-CAF African Player of the Year award.
Roma’s Egyptian defender Mohamed Salah and Leicester City’s Algeria striker Islam Slimani, who made the five-man CAF shortlist last month, were dropped from the final shortlist.
The award ceremony scheduled for Abuja on January 5 is sponsored by telecommunications firm Globacom.
Aubameyang, who won the gong for 2015, is favourite to retain the prestigious award following his impressive run of form in the German Bundesliga this season.
The 27-year-old, who will lead the Panthers’ challenge for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil next month, has 16 goals to his name to sit atop the Bundesliga’s goalscoring charts.
BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016 award winner Mahrez has a chance to dethrone Aubameyang after guiding Leicester to the Premier League title this year.
Although he has not replicated the goal-creating form which helped the Foxes become England champions since the beginning of the Premier League season in August, Mahrez could sway voters with his English awards, including the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.
Mane has been a revelation since arriving at Anfield from Southampton this summer for around £30m.
The jet-heeled forward has scored eight Premier League goals as well as providing a series of assists for his teammates.
The players shortlisted for African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) are T.P Mazembe’s Zambia captain Rainford Kabala as well as Mamelodi Sundowns’ Uganda’s Dennis Onyango and Zimbabwe’s Khama Billiat.
CAF said the list was prepared through a vigorous selection process by the Technical, Football and Media Committees of the body, taking into account the performances of the players for their national teams and clubs from January to November of each year.
The winner of the award will be decided by votes from the head coaches or the technical directors of the national associations affiliated to CAF.