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Central African Rep
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Meet Africa's best footballers
Mazizi Ndzimela | Tue, 13 Nov 2012
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
Chelsea 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
Even 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
Going 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
Gervinho 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 South Africa.
Christopher Katongo – Henan Construction/Zambia
Not 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
It 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
Another 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
Younes 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
Last 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.
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