x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Man City's Yaya Toure makes African player shortlist

Manchester City's Yaya Toure, Marseille's Andre Ayew and Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita finalists for the African Player of the Year award.

Yaya Toure has been crucial to Manchester City and Ivory Coast this year.
Yaya Toure has been crucial to Manchester City and Ivory Coast this year.

Manchester City's Yaya Toure, the Marseille winger Andre Ayew and the Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita were named as finalists for the African Player of the Year award yesterday.

Ghana's Ayew, Mali's Keita and Ivory Coast's Toure will vie for the continent's top player prize at a ceremony today in Accra, Ghana.

The Confederation of African Football had named a shortlist of five nominees, but the Cameroon captain and Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto'o and Lille's Senegalese international Moussa Sow did not make the final list.

Ayew, the favourite, who just turned 22, is the son of the former Ghana great Abedi Pele and picked up the BBC's African Footballer of the Year award last week, 20 years after his father won it while also playing for Marseille.

He has scored six goals in 17 games for Marseille this season and also helped Ghana to qualify for next month's Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The 31-year-old Keita won Spain's Primera Liga, the Champions League, the Uefa Super Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup with Barcelona in 2011. Mali also qualified for the African Cup.

Toure, 28, has been a key figure in Manchester City's rise to the top of the English Premier League and scored the only goal as City won the FA Cup final in May - the club's first major trophy in 35 years.

He also scored in Ivory Coast's final Cup of Nations qualifier as the favourites reached the January 21-February 12 tournament with a perfect record of six wins from six qualifying games.

The player award, which was won by Eto'o last year, is voted by the coaches of Africa's national teams.

Ivory Coast, Tunisia and African Cup debutants Botswana and Niger were nominated for the National Team of the Year prize.

Botswana's Stanley Tshosane, Niger's Harouna Doula and Nabil Maaloul of the African club champions Esperance Sportive de Tunis will contest the Coach of the Year award.

* Agency