Five up for African award
Five players are in contention to be African Footballer of the Year, with the winner to be announced in February.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 12/12/07 6:38pm
A five-man shortlist has been drawn up for the 2007 African Footballer of the Year award, with the winner to be announced in February.
Didier Drogba won the award last year, edging out Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o and Chelsea team-mate Michael Essien.
The Ivory Coast striker is once again in contention, having scored 33 goals during the 2006/07 season and reaching nine in only 15 games so far this campaign.
Ghanaian international Essien is up for the award for a third successive year after becoming a key player in the heart of Chelsea's midfield since his £24million move from Lyon.
Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor is the third English-based player on the list, although his inclusion is solely down to his club form after his continued boycott of the Togo national team due to a financial dispute.
Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra may have had an inconsistent start to his career at the Bernabeu, but he justifies his inclusion after helping the team to win La Liga last season and being an instrumental part of a Mali side which qualified for the African Cup of Nations from a tough group.
The final candidate is another Mali international, Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute. The former West Ham and Spurs forward scored 25 times during the 2006/07 season and has 11 already this term.
If Kanoute were to win the award, he would become the first European-born player to win the title. Born near Lyon, he played for France at junior level before switching his international alligence to Mali in 2004.
The winner will be voted for in a poll of the 53 African national team coaches and announced at the annual Confederation of African Football awards ceremony on 1st February.