Meet Africa's best footballers
Ten players are in line for the continent’s most prestigious football award
- the African Footballer of the Year.
Last year’s winner, Yaya Touré, is once
again a top contender for the award. Giving the Manchester City midfielder stiff competition is fellow Ivorian Didier Drogba, who has
already won the accolade on two occasions.
Also in the running is André Ayew of Ghana, who
finished in third position last year.
Take a look at the soccer stars hoping to score
this year’s top honour:
John Obi Mikel – Chelsea/Nigeria
midfielder John Obi Mikel was dealt with a major
blow off-field at the start of the season when his father was abducted back in Nigeria.
Despite this, Mikel went on to put on one of his best ever performance in a Chelsea
jersey and helped the Blues secure the Uefa Champions League trophy.
Didier Drogba – Shanghai Shenua/Côte d'Ivoire
though the Côte d'Ivoire captain could not lead his national side to Afcon glory, he made his mark on a different football pitch. Didier Drogba
went on to become a legend after scoring a late equaliser, taking Chelsea to
extra time and ultimately scoring the goal in the penalty shout-outs
to help Chelsea become the champions of Europe.
Demba Ba – Newcastle United/Senegal
into the 2012 Africa Champions League Demba Ba was the man favoured to
help Senegal to cup glory, and rightfully so. The Newcastle hit-man was
in sublime form, with hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.
Gervinho: Arsenal/Côte d'Ivoire
is another serious contender for the award after being a star player
for the Gunners following an exodus of key players. Unfortunately, the
forward has an injury that threatens to rule him out of the Afcon 2013 in
Christopher Katongo – Henan Construction/Zambia
only did the Zambian skipper Christopher Katongo help his side win the
2012 Africa Cup of Nations but through solid performances, he went on to be named player of the tournament.
Alex Song: Barcelona/Cameroon
takes a special player to go toe-to-toe against the likes of Cristiano
Ronaldo and Diego Costa in the Spanish Lal liga. But before the
Cameroonian made his way to Spain, he held the Arsenal defence intact
while with the London-based club.
André Ayew – Olympique Marseille/Ghana
At just 22 years old, André Ayew has made 40 appearances for Ghana and last year was voted the third-best footballer in Africa.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Saint Etienne/Gabon
rising star in the continent is Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who
plays for Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne. The 23-year-old has scored 22
goals for his club in 56 appearances - now that’s class.
Younes Belhanda – Montpellier/Morocco
Belhanda has flourished as a playmaker for Montpellier, and more
things are expected from this attacking player, who was born in France.
Yaya Touré – Manchester City/Côte d'Ivoire
but certainly not least is the man who was part of the squad that saw
Manchester City crowned English Premiership champions in the 2011/12
season. Let’s not forget Yaya Touré won the contested African
footballer of the Year in 2011.
Who will be named African Footballer of the Year? We will find out when the award is presented in Accra, Ghana, on December 20.
Images courtesy of Getty Images and Backpagepix.