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Kenya and Girona striker Michael Olunga has been shortlisted for the 2017 African Player of the Year Award to be held in Accra, Ghana on 4th January 2018.

Confederation African Football (CAF) Wednesday revealed a shortlist of thirty players for the prestigious award.

Olunga made a big move to LaLiga newbies Girona from China at the beginning of the season but is yet to break into the team’s mainstay.

He has however continue to deliver for the national team Harambee Stars.

Among top stars the former Gor Mahia star will be up against for the top most football honor in Africa includes Gabonese Borussia Dortmond goal machine Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang finished runners up in the 2016’s edition which Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez.

Second runners up Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool will also challenge for this year’s gong.

Other notably names in the star-studded provisional list dominated by Europe-based players are DRC and Villereal danger-man Cedric Bakambu and Mbwana Samatta of Tanzania and Genk.

The reigning African Player of Year based in Africa Ugandan Dennis Onyango of Mamelodi and Fabrice Ondoa of Cameroon and Sevilla are the only goalkeepers in the list.

The winner will be decided by votes from the Head Coaches/Technical Directors of National Teams affiliated to CAF, members of the CAF Technical Committee and a panel of Media Experts.

Olunga becomes the second Kenyan to land the nomination in two years after Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama of Tottenham.

None has made the final shortlist.

Nigerian energy behemoth “Aiteo” will sponsor the award.

The Shortlist:

1. Ali Maaloul (Tunisia & Al Ahly)
2. Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso & Lyon)
3. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)
4. Christian Atsu (Ghana & Newcastle)
5. Christian Bassogog (Cameroon & Henan Jianye)
6. Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
7. Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United)
8. Essam El Hadary (Egypt & Al Taawoun)
9. Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon & Sevilla)
10. Fackson Kapumbu (Zambia & Zesco)
11. Jean Michel Seri (Cote d’Ivoire & Nice)
12. Junior Kabananga (DR Congo & Astana)
13. Karim El Ahmadi (Morocco & Feyenoord)
14. Keita Balde (Senegal & Monaco)
15. Khalid Boutaib (Morocco & Yeni Malatyaspor)
16. Mbwana Samata (Tanzania & Genk)
17. Michael Olunga (Kenya & Girona)
18. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
19. Moussa Marega (Mali & Porto)
20. Naby Keita (Guinea & RB Leipzig)
21. Percy Tau (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
22. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borussia Dortmund)
23. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
24. Thomas Partey (Ghana & Atletico Madrid)
25. Victor Moses (Nigeria & Chelsea)
26. Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon & Porto)
27. William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria & Bursaspor)
28. Yacine Brahimi (Algeria & Porto)
29. Youssef Msakni (Tunisia & Al Duhail)
30. Yves Bissouma (Mali & Lille)

African Football Writer contributing @Soka25east | Commentator; appeared on @MySoccerAfrica, @KweseSports, @ntvkenya, others | Keen follower of African Football. E-mail: bonfaceosano@gmail.com

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