Liverpool forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are the three finalists for the African player of the year award in a repeat of last year’s shortlist.
This disclosure was made in a statement by CAF on its website on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
The statement read:
Reigning Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah, his Liverpool club-mate Sadio Mane and 2015 winner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, have made the top three for the most prestigious individual accolade in African football.
A repeat of last year, the three players will be hoping to begin the year with the crown of Player of the Year for their exploits in 2018. The winner will be unveiled at the Awards Gala on 8 January 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.
Gabonese icon Aubameyang, maintains his familiar status amongst the top three finalists since 2014, thus five times in a row and equaling the record of Ivorian legend Yaya Toure and Ghanaian midfield supremo Michael Essien. Four-time Player of the Year, Toure, achieved the feat (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and Essien (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). The 29-year old will be hoping to lay his hands on the enviable crown a second time.
Salah, 26, made history becoming the first Egyptian to be decorated Player of the Year since the inception of the awards scheme in 1992. It is the second time, he has made the final three and Salah has his eyes set on joining the elite league of players to win the honour back-to-back. Senegalese El Hadji Diouf (2001, 2002), Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon (2003, 2004) and Toure (2011, 2012) are the only three to win successive titles.
It is a hat-trick for 26-year old Mane in the top three, coming third in 2016 and second in 2017. He will be hoping to be third time lucky and become the second Senegalese to win the topmost individual honour after Diouf.