African footballer of the year: who was the best in 2017?

On 4 January the African Player of the Year prize will be awarded in Ghana. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has overseen the award since 1992. Before that, the magazine France Football was the organiser.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has high hopes of winning the award.

The Egyptian scored of 23 goals in all competitions, while the season is just halfway through.

Salah, Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Gabon are the main contenders for the highest African individual football honor.

Here are some APY facts:

  • Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré holds the record for consecutive victories with four, starting in 2011.
  • Cameroon have been the most successful nation with 11 first places, including four for legendary striker Samuel Eto’o.
  • Former Chelsea and Ghana midfielder Michael Essien made the top three five consecutive times from 2005 without ever winning.
  • Retired Cameroon star Roger Milla was the last Africa-based winner, being attached to Réunion club Saint-Denis when voted number one in 1990.
  • Goalkeepers Thomas N’Kono (twice) of Cameroon and Badou Zaki of Morocco topped the poll but no defender has been chosen Player of the Year.
  • Morocco midfielder Mohamed Timoumi was the 1985 winner, followed by compatriot Badou Zaki, one of two goalkeepers to be voted the best African footballer.
  • Footballers from the west of the continent have dominated recently with Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon and Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast each winning four times.
  • While Salah has made the top three for the first time, prolific Bundesliga scorer Aubameyang finished first once and second twice in the past three award ceremonies.
  • Mane came third last season but his valuable input for Liverpool has been overshadowed by Salah, second in the Premier League scorers’ charts behind Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur.

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