England Premier League trio of Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been shortlisted for the 2018 African Player of the Year, a repeat of the 2017 scenario.
The announcement of the trio was made by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Tuesday with the winner to be crowned at the AITEO Awards Gala billed for the Senegalese capital, Dakar next Tuesday, January 8, 2018.
Salah was crowned the 2017 Player of the Year at a Gala in Accra, Ghana on January 4, 2018 with his club mate at Liverpool, Mane finishing second. Aubameyang who joined the duo in England by signing with Premier League rivals Arsenal last January, finished third.
This year’s race is expected to be tougher in spite of Salah’s continued brilliance for his club Liverpool. The Egyptian has contributed to a total of 20 goals (13 goals and 7 assists) in the Premier League this season, more than any player in the division, a significant factor in his side’s leadership position on the league log.
Senegalese star Mane has also had a fine season so far, scoring eight league goals for the Reds while Aubameyang is the league’s joint top scorer with thirteen goals so far (same number of goals with Salah and Tottenham’s Harry Kane).
Aubameyang’s final nomination sees him equal the record of Ivorian legend Yaya Toure and Ghanaian star Michael Essien of five consecutive final shortlist nominations. The Gabonese has always made the final shortlist since 2014 and he won the award once, in 2015.
In the women’s version of the awards, reigning Women’s Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala was also named in the final three of the award shortlist alongside her Super Falcons teammate Francisca Ordega and this year’s favourite Chrestina Thembi Kgatlana from South Africa.