Following hot on the heels of Hlompho Kekana’s nomination for the Puskas Award (Fifa’s Goal of the Year) on Monday, the Brazilians have four players in the top five list for the continental gong.
Kekana, along with Khama Billiat, Keagan Dolly and Denis Onynago are nominated for the second-tier award that is reserved for players plying their trade on the continent. Also nominated is Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba who plays for the Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe.
All these four players were instrumental in Sundowns becoming African champions following their aggregate victory over Zamalek in the final.
Billiat and Onyango were also in great form as they helped their countries, Zimbabwe and Uganda respectively, qualifyfor next year’s Africa Cup of Nations. Dolly had a fantastic year for both club and country having represented South Africa at the Olympics with the national under 23 side and also turning out for Bafana Bafana. Kekana played for Bafana as well.
Caf also released the top five list for the main award, the African Player of the Year. Last year’s winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Borrusia Dortmund) is in line to defend his titile. But he faces stiff competition from Leicester City’s Algerian duo of Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani. Senegalese Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Egypt’s Mohames Salah who plays for Roma are also in the running.
The winners will be decided on a vote by the head coaches of the 54 National Associations affiliated to CAF plus Associate Members, Reunion Island and Zanzibar, together with the other half of the 20-member Panel of Experts (10 persons). The awards ceremony will take place next year on January 5 in Abuja, Nigeria.
African Player of the Year Nominees
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borrusia Dortmund)
2. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
3. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
4. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)
5. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)
African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) Nominees
1. Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns & Zimbabwe)
2. Keegan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)
3. Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe & Zambia)
4. Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)
5. Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns & Uganda)
Original source: Sundowns dominate home based Caf Player of the Year list