By Nurudeen Obalola:
Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has celebrated the nominations of himself and international teammates Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho for the CAF African Player of the Year award, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
"Proud for Nigeria to be nominated for @CAF_Online African Footballer of the Year along with Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa," Mikel tweeted on Tuesday.
Mikel, who finished second to Yaya Toure for the award in 2013, inspired Nigeria U-23s as captain and one of three allowed overage players to a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics men's football event.
Iheanacho has had a productive breakthrough year at Manchester City and the Super Eagles, while Musa had a great impact in CSKA's run to the Russian top flight title before joing Leicester City in August.
Other prominent players in the 30-man nominees list include Algeria's Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, Cameroon's Samurl Eto'o, Cote d'Ivoire's Eric Bailly, Egypt's Mohamed Salah, holder Pierre Emerick Aubameyang from Gabon, and Ghana's Andre Ayew.
Cote d'Ivoire star Yaya Toure, who won the award four times in a row and was runner-up last year, is not included.
Nigerian strikers, Mfon Idoh of Enyimba and Chisom Chikatara of Wydad, are listed as two of 25 nominees for the African Player of the Year Based in Africa award.
African Player of the Year list
1. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
2. El Arabi Hillel Soudani (Algeria & Dinamo Zagreb)
3. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)
4. Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon & Antalyaspor)
5. Benjamin Mounkandjo (Cameroon & Lorient)
6. Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire & PSG)
7. Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester City)
8. Yao Kouasi Gervais ‘Gervinho’ (Cote d’Ivoire & Hebei Fortune)
9. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)
10. Mohamed El Neny (Egypt & Arsenal)
11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Dortmund)
12. Andre Ayew (Ghana & West Ham)
13. Victor Wanyama (Kenya & Tottenham)
14. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)
15. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)
16. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax)
17. John Mikel Obi (Nigeria & Chelsea)
18. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)
19. Ahmed Musa (Nigeria & Leicester City)
20. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)
21. Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo & Everton)
22. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
23. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli)
24. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
25. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)
26. Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania & Genk)
27. Aymen Abdennour Tunisia & Valencia)
28. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia & Sunderland)
29. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
30. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)
African Player of the Year – Based in Africa list
1. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
2. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)
3. Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)
4. Joel Kimwaki (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)
5. Joyce Lomalisa (DR Congo & AS Vita)
6. Salif Coulibaly (Mali & TP Mazembe)
7. Ali Gabr (Egypt & Zamalek)
8. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
9. Jackson Mwanza (Zambia & Zesco United)
10. Rainford Kalaba (Zambia & TP Mazembe)
11. Elia Meschak (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)
12. Aymen Hefny (Egypt & Zamalek)
13. Morgan Betorangal (Chad & MO Bejaia)
14. Hlompho Kekana (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
15. Hamza Lahmar (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)
16. Jesse Were (Kenya & Zesco United)
17. Idris Mbombo (DR Congo & Zesco United)
18. Chisom Chikatara (Nigeria & Wydad Athletic Club)
19. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)
20. Reda Hajhouj (Morocco & Wydad Athletic Club)
21. Fabrice Nguessi Ondama (Congo & Wydad Athletic Club)
22. Mfon Udon (Nigeria & Enyimba)
23. Bassem Morsi (Egypt & Zamalek)
24. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)
25. Yannick Zakri (Cote d’Ivoire & Mamelodi Sundowns)
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