Retired Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo was cut from the final three-man shortlist for Africa’s best player with Liverpool pair Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, plus Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City named as the three candidates for this year’s African Footballer of the Year award, to be decided next month.
Senegal talisman Mane will be the favourite for the award ahead of his Egyptian club mate after Liverpool won the Champions League. However, he faces stiff opposition from Mahrez, who won the Premier League with City and also captained Algeria to the Africa Cup of Nations title in mid-year.
The nominees were named on Sunday after being selected by a panel of technical experts from the Confederation of African Football plus former players and media.
There was still plenty to cheer for Nigeria as Super Eagles duo of Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze were shortlisted for the African Youth Player award alongside Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi.
Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala remains in the running for a 4th African Women’s Player of the Year crown but will have to contend with reigning queen Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa and Cameroon’s Ajara Njoya.
Meanwhile, Oshoala’s former national team manager Thomas Dennerby who led the Falcons to a tenth AWCON title last year is in the running for the Women’s Coach of the Year award alongside Bayana Bayana coach Desiree Ellis and Indomitable Lionesses coach Alain Djeumfa.
The coaches and captains of the 54 African national teams will now vote for the winner, to be announced on 7 January at a ceremony at Hurgada in Egypt.