Caf names 34 for African Footballer of the Year
The Confederation of African Football has revealed an initial list of 34 players for its 2012 African Footballer of the Year award.
Among them is Cote d'Ivoire and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, who won the honour last year.
Also on the list are three players who currently represent African clubs.
Zambian duo Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu both play for DR Congo's TP Mazembe, while Tunisia's Youssef Msakni is at Esperance.
Msakni, however, is set to leave the African Champions, having agreed to join Lekhwiya in Qatar in January 2013.
Kalaba and Sunzu have already enjoyed a successful year, as they were part of Zambia's team that lifted this year's Africa Cup trophy in Gabon.
And the duo, alongside Msakni, are the only players to appear on both shortlists for the African Footballer of the Year and the African Player of the Year.
The African Footballer of the Year award is predominantly won by players based outside Africa while the African Player of the Year prize is dedicated to players plying their trade within Africa.
"I am very happy to be nominated because it's not easy," Kalaba told BBC Sport.
Stoppila Sunzu has had a memorable year
"There are a lot of talented players in Africa and for me to have made it to both shortlists, I am very humbled and happy.
"The chances of winning are 50/50. I can only wait for the final decision, but I think everyone has a fair chance of winning."
Sunzu, scorer of the winning penalty against Cote d'Ivoire in the Africa Cup of Nations final, is delighted that his performances have been recognised.
"It's the first time I am being nominated for such an award and I am very pleased," he said.
"This has been a very good year for me after winning the Africa Cup and I can feel it that my form has improved."
Should one of the pair win the award, they will emulate the current Football Association of Zambia President Kalusha Bwalya, who took the took the prize in 1988 and is the only recipient of the award from southern Africa.
CAF said in a statement that it will announce the top 10 nominees for the African Footballer of the Year and the top five nominees for African footballer of the Year (based in Africa) by late October.
The names of the respective 10 and five finalists will then be sent to national associations, head coaches and secretary generals to select the top three finalists.
The awards, which also include Coach of the Year and Club of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony on December 20 in the Banquet Hall, State House in the Ghanaian capital Accra.
Nominees for African Player of the Year:
- Abdelaziz Barrada - Getafe (Spain) and Morocco
- Adel Taarabt - Queens Park Rangers (England) and Morocco
- Alain Sibiri Traore - Lorient (France) and Burkina Faso
- Alexander Song - Barcelona (Spain) and Cameroon
- Andre 'Dede' Ayew - Marseille (France) and Ghana
- Arouna Kone - Wigan (England) and Cote d'Ivoire
- Aymen Abdennour - Toulouse (France) and Tunisia
- Bakaye Traore - AC Milan (Italy) and Mali
- Cheick Tiote - Newcastle United (England) and Cote d'Ivoire
- Christopher Katongo - Henan Construction (China) and Zambia
- Demba Ba - Newcastle United (England) and Senegal
- Didier Drogba - Shanghai Shenhua (China) and Cote d'Ivoire
- Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu - Udinese (Italy) and Ghana
- Emmanuel Mayuka - Southampton (England) and Zambia
- Foxi Kethevoama - FC Astana (Kazakhstan) and Central African Republic
- Gervinho - Arsenal (England) and Cote d'Ivoire
- Hilaire Momi - Le Mans (France) and Central African Republic
- John Obi Mikel - Chelsea (England) and Nigeria
- John Utaka - Montpellier (France) and Nigeria
- Kwadwo Asamoah - Juventus (Italy) and Ghana
- Moussa Sow - Fenerbahce (Turkey) and Senegal
- Nicolas N'koulou - Marseille (France) and Cameroon
- Papiss Demba Cisse - Newcastle United (England) and Senegal
- Pape Moussa Konate - FC Krasnodar (Russia) and Senegal
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - St Etienne (France) and Gabon
- Rainford Kalaba - TP Mazembe (DR Congo) and Zambia
- Seydou Doumbia - CSKA Moscow (Russia) and Cote d'Ivoire
- Seydou Keita - Dalian Aerbin (China) and Mali
- Sofiane Feghouli - Valencia (Spain) and Algeria
- Stoppila Sunzu - TP Mazembe (DR Congo) and Zambia
- Victor Moses - Chelsea (England) and Nigeria
- Yaya Toure - Manchester City (England) and Cote d'Ivoire
- Younes Belhanda - Montpellier (France) and Morocco
- Youssef Msakni - Esperance (Tunisia) and Tunisia (BBC)