JOHANNESBURG - The five candidates for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2012 award have been revealed.
Yaya Toure has made the shortlist for the second consecutive year and he is joined by his Ivory Coast team-mate Didier Drogba, Senegal’s Demba Ba, Morocco’s Younes Belhanda and Zambia skipper Christopher Katongo.
The winner will be decided by African football fans, who have until 1830 GMT on Thursday, 13 December to vote for their choice. The winner will be announced on Monday, 17 December.
It has been an outstanding year for all the nominees, with four of the players winning silverware.
Drogba could not have bid a better farewell to Chelsea at the end of the season after scoring the winning penalty to clinch the Champions League trophy for the first time in the club’s history, and also scoring what proved to be the winning goal in the FA Cup final.
His Ivorian compatriot, Toure, was a key player for Manchester City as the Sky Blues were crowned Premier League champions for the first time - and their first top-flight title for 44 years.
A domestic title was also earned by Belhanda, whose 12 goals and all-round performances were a huge factor as Montpellier pulled off a major surprise to win the French Ligue 1 championship.
On the international scene there was yet another first as Katongo led from the front for Zambia, skippering them to a shock victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, where Chipolopolo beat Ivory Coast on penalties in the final.
Ba fared less well at the Nations Cup, with Senegal going out of the competition at the group stage, but he enjoyed personal success with Newcastle where he ended last season as the club’s top scorer with 17 goals, helping them to finish fifth in the table.