The five-man shortlist of competitors vying for the title of African Footballer of the Year has been announced. Are we going to see a repeat of last year or will we see an upset? Let’s take a look at the contenders this year and how they match up against one another.
The 31-year old Juventus centre-back took home his fourth consecutive league title this year, having won two previously with Bayern Munich and now two with Juventus. He also captained Morocco at this summer’s World Cup where, while they struggled to escape the groups, did manage a 2-2 draw against Spain.
The Liverpool striker captained his country Senegal in two World Cup games and scored in their clash with Japan. He was also the joint top-scorer in last season’s Champions League with 10 goals for his club, including one in the 3-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of Real Madrid in the final.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder has established himself as a regular in Diego Simeone’s squad, including a late substitution appearance in the Europa League final where they defeated Marseille. He has also scored in international friendlies for Ghana against Japan and Iceland.
Also part of the strong Senegalese squad that went to the World Cup, Koulibaly plays his club football as a defender at Napoli. He was a key part of their battle with Juventus for the Serie A title, including the winner against the eventual champions in the run-in.
Mohamed Salah won the prize last year and it’s no surprise that he’s in the running again. Having won the Premier League Golden Boot in May with 32 goals and, like Mane, scoring 10 Champions League goals in their run to the final, he’ll be hard to beat. He also scored both of Egypt’s World Cup goals – 40% of their all-time total at the tournament.