Caf names top three for African Footballer of the Year

Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Algeria and Leicester City Winger Riyad Mahrez and Senegal and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane have emerged as the top three running for the 2016 Caf African Player of the Year.

The final shortlist was announced on Thursday, with AS Roma and Egypt winger Mohamed Salah as well as Algeria and Leicester City striker Islam Slimani failing to make the cut from the list of five players.

Caf had initially shortlisted 30 men, before whittling it down to five.

Aubameyang is in line to win the coveted award for the second consecutive time following a string of fine performances in the year under review.

The 27-year-old racked 25 goals in 31 appearances in the 2015-16 German topflight which ended in May.

This season, he seems to be continuing just where he left off – perhaps better – having notched 16 goals in 15 Bundesliga outings.

Mahrez, by his own standards, has been on the low this season, but his contribution in helping Leicester lift the 2015-16 English Premier League in May makes him a strong candidate.

The winger, who was recently voted BBC African Footballer of the Year, hit 17 goals in 37 appearances to boost the unprecedented league triumph, a stat that somewhat makes mockery of his three goals in 17 topflight games thus far this campaign.

Senegal’s Mane would fancy his chances too, even if the connoisseurs think otherwise.

The 24-year-old netted 11 times in 37 league games for Southampton last season, before crossing carpets to Liverpool, for whom he has eight goals in 16 league matches thus far this term.

In a related development, Uganda and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango, Khama Billiat of Zimbabwe and Mamelodi Sundowns as well as Rainford Kalaba of Zambia and Caf Confederation Cup champions TP Mazembe have been named as the top three for the African Player of the Year Based in Africa gong.

The 2016 Awards Gala will be held in Abuja, Nigeria on January 5 next year.

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