The BBC has released the five-man shortlist for the 2018 BBC African Footballer of the Year award. Although it seems they have left some names out, the nominees are worth their pedigree.
First on the list is Medhi Benatia from Morocco. He plays as a center-back for Juventus and has won his fourth consecutive league title this year – two with Bayern Munich and two with Juve. He also captained Morocco at the World Cup in Russia.
Another nominee is Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who plies his trade in Napoli. The 27-year old played his part in his club’s battle with Juve for the Serie A title last season, including the winner against the eventual champions in the run-in. He played all 270 minutes for Senegal in the World Cup.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane also makes the list. The 26-year old also played in all of Senegal’s World Cup games, captaining his country in two and getting a goal against Japan. He was the joint-second top scorer in last season’s Champions League – with 10 goals for Liverpool, including one in the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the final.
A not so surprising appearance on the list is Ghana’s Thomas Partey. The 25-year old Atletico Madrid midfielder established himself as a first-team regular for Diego Simeone’s side, including a late appearance as a substitute in the Europa League final win over Marseille. He scored in international friendlies for Ghana against Japan and Iceland.
A name everyone was expecting on the shortlist is no one else but the Egyptian Pharao himself, Mohamed Salah. The 26-year old won the Premier League Golden Boot with 32 goals in May and like fellow teammate, Sadio Mane, he scored 10 Champions League strikes in their run to the final. He scored both of Egypt’s World Cup goals – 40% of their all-time total at the tournament.
Vote opened on Saturday, 17 November at 8 pm Nigerian time and closes on Sunday, 2 December at 9 pm.
The result will be announced in a programme on BBC World News on Friday, 14 December at 6:30 pm.
Liverpool forward Salah won last year’s award, with previous winners including Jay-Jay Okocha, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, and Riyad Mahrez.