Orlando Pirates duo, Kermit Erasmus and Felipe Ovono, have both made it into the ten-man shortlist for the CAF Africa-based African Player of the Year, but who are their rivals?
Read: Bucs Duo Make CAF Top 10
The two Buccaneers, who have shone in the CAF Confederation Cup and African Cup of Nations respectively, will be up against the top talent in Africa at the CAF Awards in January, and are the only players currently playing in Southern Africa.
Eight different nations are represented in the Africa-based African Player of the Year finalists, with Algerian players taking up three of the 10 spots.
Here is a bit of information on each of the nominees:
Abdeladim Khadrouf (Morocco & Moghreb Tetouan)
The 30-year-old attacking midfielder has been a regular for Tetouan in 2015, scoring and creating for the Moroccan outfit, however wasn’t able to help them out of the group stages of the CAF Champions League, despite grabbing two goals.
Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria & Etoile du Sahel)
Bounedjah, 23, has had an impressive year for a player of his relatively young age, bagging 14 goals as he played a vital role in Etoile’s march to Tunisian Cup glory and the CCC final. Between June and September he scored nine goals in six games.
Felipe Ovono (Equatorial Guinea & Orlando Pirates)
Not only did Ovono put in a number of top-notch performances to see Equatorial Guinea reach their first ever African Cup of Nations semifinal this year, but he also had a role to play in Pirates’ qualification for the CCC final.
Kermit Erasmus (South Africa & Orlando Pirates)
The 25-year-old Buccaneer has got 13 goals in 2015 so far, including five in the CCC, and it was his brilliantly taken goal that led to an amazing turnaround for Pirates in Egypt as they overcame Al Ahly to make the CCC final.
Mbwana Aly Samatta (Tanzania & TP Mazembe)
Mazembe’s Tanzanian international has been pivotal as the Congolese giants come within touching distance of another CCL title, scoring six goals up to now, including the winner in the first leg against USM Alger.
Mohamed Meftah (Algeria & USM Alger)
Meftah, 30, is a regular goalscorer for USM, despite being a defender, and has picked up seven goals in 2015 so far, including three as helped his side reach the CCL final this year. With him at the back, his side have lost just five games since October 2014.
Mudather Eltaib Ibrahim ‘Karika’ (Sudan & El Hilal)
The 27-year-old Sudanese attacker, who can play on the wing or up front, has three goals and six assists to his name in this year’s CCL, however his side couldn’t make it past USM in the semifinals. He’s also bagged 12 league goals as El Hilal find themselves on the verge of the 2015 league title, and is the only player on both the Africa-based and African Player of the Year Top 10.
Robert Kidiaba Muteba (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)
For followers of African football, Kidiaba will need no introduction. The veteran shot-stopper turns 40 in February, but has once again been crucial for Mazembe as they draw closer to their fifth CCL title. He was a constant in the DRC side that reached the AFCON 2015 semifinal.
Roger Assalé (Cote d’Ivoire & TP Mazembe)
Like his attacking teammate, Samatta, Assalé’s role in Mazembe’s match to the CCL final cannot be understated. At just 21, the Ivorian has five goals and one assist in this year’s tournament, and has gone on to make his Ivory Coast debut this year.
Zinedine Ferhat (Algeria & USM Alger)
This 22-year-old Algerian midfielder has been another of USM’s star performers in this year’s CAFCL, helping to create a number of the club’s goals in the tournament. He’s also been a regular in Alger’s side that has won seven of their last eight games this season.
The top three players will now be voted for by either the Head Coach or Technical Director of each African FA, with the player who gets the most being handed the trophy on January 7th in Abuja, Nigeria.