The BBC have released the shortlist for their African Footballer of the Year Award for the calendar year of 2017, and it features some very familiar names.
The five nominees were revealed during a special live show with a panel consisting of African and 1996 Olympic champion Emmanuel Amuneke, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winner Arnaud Djoum, and Jean Seninde, who plays for Uganda and Crystal Palace Ladies.
Said nominees hope to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Riyad Mahrez.
“It means a lot; it’s something big for African players so I am very happy, I am very proud,” the Leicester City man said following his achievement. “For African players, it’s a huge honour.”
The first player to be nominated was Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese star became the first African to top the Bundesliga scoring charts with 31 goals in the 2016/17 season, also becoming just the fourth to score over 30 goals in the German league – and the first in 40 years.
We are live from the BBC African Footballer of the Year launch show and our first nominee: Its Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.The French-born Gabonese footballer currently plays for German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. pic.twitter.com/hT0YwowGAt
— BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) November 11, 2017
Next up was Sadio Mane. The Liverpool and Senegal star scored 13 goals for the Reds last season, despite missing a huge chunk of the campaign with an injury.
He has also helped his country qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 15 years.
Of course, his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah was sure to feature, with the Egyptian speedster coming in as the third nominee on the night, following the exploits that have taken Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Sadio Mane helped Senegal reach to their first World Cup since 2002, and Mohamed Salah helped Egypt qualify to their first World Cup since 1990.
Two phenomenal players for their respective countries.
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) November 10, 2017
Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses, who was key to the Blues winning the Premier League title last season, helped Nigeria qualify for next year’s tournament despite playing in just three matches for his country this year.
“I like his versatility. It has helped him get a starting place,” Sseninde said of Moses.
“He has shown he can play any position and get on with it.”
Last, but certainly not least, was Naby Keita, who had a fantastic season with RB Leipzig, also making it onto the Bundesliga Team of the Year.
The Guinea star will join Mane and Salah at Liverpool next year, with a move having already been agreed over.
By the looks of things, the Reds will probably have the African Player of the Year for 2017 in their squad at some point. But there is obviously stiff competition from Moses and Aubameyang, who had stellar campaigns themselves.
The winner of the award will be announced live in a month’s time at 17:30 GMT on Monday, 11 December on BBC.