NAIROBI, October 12 – Harambee Stars skipper and Southampton midfielder, Victor Wanyama, is in the running to become the first Kenyan to win the CAF African Footballer of the Year award after he was included in the shortlist of 37 nominees for this year.
This will be the second time the 24-year-old has been nominated for the annual gong since 2013 when he joined Southampton for Sh1.9bn (£12.5m) from Celtic FC.
Wanyama, who guided Kenya to the second round of 2018 World Cup pre-qualifier, has been in blistering form for his club playing a vital role in midfield for the Saints who are ninth on the Barclays Premier League log after eight rounds.
‘Big Vic’ as he is nicknamed by his teammates in England, has only missed two matches for Ronald Koeman’s side this season when it was reported he submitted a transfer request to switch to EPL rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, but the deal collapsed on deadline day.
In his absence, Southampton were bundled out of the Europa League by Denmark outfit, Midtjylland in the play-offs before the team went on to thrash Norwich City 3-0 for their first league victory of the season.
Wanyama who has three goals for the Saints, will be joined by his Senegalese teammate, striker Sadio Mane who was shortlisted.
The list released by CAF on Sunday, is dominated by Algerian players with six footballers from the North African country in the line-up even though they failed to make an impact at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
African champions, Ivory Coast have four players, with four time back-to-back winner and current holder, Yaya Toure of Manchester City headlining their inclusion.
The Ghanaian pair of Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew also made the star-studded shortlist that has Nigerian duo of CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa and Lille keeper, Vincent Enyeama.
The present 37-man list will be pruned down to 10 by next month before it is further reduced to five and then the final three before the award ceremony is held.
Nominees full list
- Ahmed Musa- CSKA Moscow, Russia, Nigeria
- Andre Ayew – Swansea City, England, Ghana
- Aymen ABDENNOUR – FC Valence, Spain, Tunisia
- Baghdad Bonjah – Étoile du Sahel, Tunisia, Algeria
- Bassem Morsi – Zamalek, Egypt, Egypt
- Chrisitian Atsu – Bournemouth, England, Ghana
- Dieu Merci Mbokani – Norwich, England, D.R Congo
- El Arbi Hillel Soudani – Dynamo Zagreb, Croatia, Algeria
- Faouzi Ghoulam – Napoli, Italy, Algeria
- Férébory Doré – Angers, France, Congo
- Gervais Yao Kouassi – Rome, Italy, Cote d’Ivoire
- Ibrahima Traoré – Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany, Guinea
- Javier Balboa – Al-Faisaly, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea
- Héldon Ramos – Rio Ave, Portugal, Cape Verde
- Mame Diouf – Stoke City, England, Senegal
- Max Alain Gradel – Bournemouth, England, Cote d’Ivoire
- Mehdi Benatia – Bayern Munich, Germany, Morocco
- Modather Al Tayeb “Karika”- Al Hilal, Sudan, Sudan
- Mohamed Salah – As Roma, Italy, Egypt
- Nicolas Nkoulou – Marseille, France, Cameroon
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund, Germany, Gabon
- Robert Kidiaba – T.P Mazembe, D.R Congo D.R Congo
- Rudy Gestede – Aston Villa, England, Benin
- Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City, England, Algeria
- Sadio Mané – Southampton, England, Senegal
- Serge AURIER – Paris Saint Germain, France, Côte d’Ivoire
- Seydou keita – Rome, Italy, Mali
- Sofiane FEGHOULI – Valence, Spain, Algeria
- Stéphane Mbia – Trabzonspor, Turkey, Cameroon
- Thievy Bifouma – Granada, Spain, Congo
- Victor Wanyama – Southampton, England, Kenya
- Vincent Aboubakar – Porto, Portugal Cameroon
- Vincent Enyeama – Lille, France, Nigeria
- Yacine Brahimi – Porto, Portugal, Algeria
- Yannick Bolasie – Crystal Palace, England, RD Congo
- Yasine Chikhaoui – Al-Gharafa, Qatar, Tunisia
- Yaya Toure – Man City, England, Cot d’Ivoire