Three English-based players have been shortlisted for the 2015 BBC African Footballer of the Year alongside Porto winger Yacinie Brahimi and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Southampton forward Sadio Mane is the only first-time nominee. The Senegalese scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history against Aston Villa in May and has netted six more times for Ronald Koeman’s side this season, including this skilful turn and finish in October’s 3-1 win at Chelsea.
Swansea City summer signing Andre Ayew and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, winners of the award in 2011 and 2013 respectively, were also shortlisted by journalists from 46 African countries.
Ayew captained Ghana to the final of February’s Africa Cup of Nations, in which they were beaten on penalties by Toure’s Ivory Coast, and has scored 12 goals for Marseille and Swansea across 2015.
Current holder Brahimi of Algeria, linked with a possible move to Chelsea by The Guardian, lit up the Champions League in the 2014-15 campaign to help Porto reach their first quarter-final in six years.
But Gabonese Aubameyang, in the final five for the third year running, may be the favourite after ending last season as Dortmund’s top scorer and beginning this term with 20 goals in 17 games.
The 26-year-old was the subject of summer interest from Arsenal, according to Sky Sports, but stayed in Germany to create a Bundesliga record by finding the net in the first eight games of the season.
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