Title-holder Mohamed Salah of Egypt was among 10 African stars named Friday in a Premier League-dominated short-list for the 2018 CAF Player of the Year award.
The 26-year-old scored 44 goals for Liverpool in all competitions last season, his first at Anfield afer moving from Roma, and is set to be voted number one in Africa again.
After a slow start to his second season in England, Salah is joint leading Premier League scorer on 10 goals with Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal.
Salah and 2015 African Player of the Year Aubameyang are among five nominees from England’s top flight, with Manchester City winger Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez, who won the award in 2016 after helping Leicester City to a historic Premier League title, joining them.
Salah’s Senegalese Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane, and Nigerian Alex Iwobi of Arsenal are the other candidates from the most-watched football league in the world.
There are two goalkeepers vying to become the first to win the award since Badou Zaki of Morocco 32 years ago — Cameroonian Andre Onana of Ajax Amsterdam and Ugandan Denis Onyango from South African club Mamelodi Sundowns.
Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia, Egyptian midfielder Walid Soliman and Tunisian striker Anis Badri complete the list.
French coach Herve Renard, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia and the Ivory Coast and is now in charge of Morocco, is among three Coach of the Year contenders.
His rivals are Aliou Cisse of Senegal and Moine Chaabani, who guided Tunisian side Esperance to the CAF Champions League title after being put in charge just one match before the final.
The award winners will be announced on January 8 at a ceremony in Dakar.
African awards short lists
Player of the Year
Alex Iwobi (Nigeria, Arsenal/ENG), Andre Onana (Cameroon, Ajax/NED), Anis Badri (Tunisia, Esperance), Denis Onyango (Uganda, Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA), Mehdi Benatia (Morocco, Juventus/ITA), Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool/ENG), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon,Arsenal/ENG), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City/ENG), Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool/ENG), Walid Soliman (Egypt, Al Ahly)
Women’s Player of the Year
Abdulai Mukarama (Ghana), Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria), Bassira Toure (Mali), Chrestinah Kgatlana (South Africa), Elizabeth Addo (Ghana), Francisca Ordega (Nigeria), Gabrielle Onguene (Cameroon), Janine van Wyk (South Africa), Onome Ebi (Nigeria), Raissa Feudjio (Cameroon), Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi)
Youth Player of the Year
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco), Franck Kessie (Ivory Coast), Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)
Coach of the Year
Aliou Cisse (Senegal), Herve Renard (Morocco), Moine Chaabani (Esperance/TUN)
Women’s Coach of the Year
Desiree Ellis (South Africa), Joseph Ndoko (Cameroon), Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria)
National Team of the Year
Madagascar, Mauritania, Uganda
Women’s National Team of the Year
Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa