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Monday, November 11, 2013

Yaya Toure, Mikel and Aubameyang Make BBC African Footballer of the Year Shortlist

Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations winning duo, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses have been shortlisted for the 2013 BBC Africa Footballer of Year award alongside Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure, Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang and Burkinabe Jonathan Pitroipa.

The five names made it to the 2013 shortilst after being voted in by 44 journalists drawn from across Africa. Cote d’Ivoire’s Toure has made it to the list for the fifth consecutive time but has never won the award before. The bully anchorman has been at the heart of Manchester City’s midfield this season where he has notched up some important goals from set pieces and has been the club’s stand-in captain in the absence of Vincent Kompany.

Both John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses were in stellar form as they steered Nigeria to their 3rd African Nations Cup title with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the final. Both players made it to the team of the tournament list with Moses being named the fair player of the tournament.

Mikel’s 2013 season has seen him face more competition in the Chelsea midfield but the 26 year old has been able to hold against his own. He scored for Chelsea for first time in 185 Premier League games in a 2-0 win over Fulham in September and already has a silverware this season following Chelsea’s triumph in the UEFA Europa League.

His fellow countryman, Moses, was a Chelsea player until he moved on loan to Liverpool early September. The tricky wideman scored on his debut in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea and has notched up 7 appearance for the Reds who sit 2nd in the Premier League table.

Burkinabe’s Pitroipa was named player of the tournament during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. The Stade Rennais winger scored the goal that put Burkina Faso in the semis and played a key part as the Stallions unexpectedly marched to finals where they eventually succumbed to Nigeria’s defeat. He also netted the opening goal in a 3-2 win over Tunisia in the knock out stages of the ongoing World Cup qualifier matches.

Gabon forward Aubemayang had been turning heads since his stellar performance in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations when he helped less-fancied Gabon reach the quarter finals. After that, it was a case of when, rather than, If, he would leave Saint Ettiene for bigger European clubs. He finally made the big move from France to Germany where he signed for Borussia Dortmund on a 5-year contract. The 24year-old has continued with his fine goal-scoring form which saw him score 35 goals in 73 appearances for Saint Ettiene. At Dortmund, he has found the back of the net seven times in 11 appearances for last season’s Champions League finalists.

It is the first time that a Burkina Faso and a Gabon player has made it to the BBC Africa Player of the Year list since its inception in 1991. The award was won by Zambia’s Christopher Katongo last year. Nigeria and Ghana lead the countries with the most number of winners having both won it five times.

The winner, which will be determined by football fans from Africa, will be announced on December  2nd on BBC’s Focus on Africa radio and TV programmes. Fans can either vote online or send an SMS to +44 7786 20 20 08.

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