All is set, as the stars have converged in the Nigerian capital Abuja Thursday for the Glo-Caf Award, Algeria forward is tipped by many Riyad Mahrez to be crowned African Footballer of the Year for 2016 following his staggering contribution to Leicester City’s incredible Premier League title win.
Mahraz, Mane Or Aubameyang, Who Will Win CAF Player Of 2016 Tonight?
If Mahrez, 25 wins, he will become the first North African since Mustapha Hadji to win African football’s most prestigious prize, in addition to his PFA player of the year and BBC African player of the year awards.
The dazzling Algerian winger was the talisman in Leicester’s 5000-1 fairytale league triumph last season, scoring 17 goals and providing 11 assists.
Should he win the award on Thursday (today), the former Le Havre forward will join Algeria greats Rabah Madjer (1987) and Lakhdar Belloumi (1981) on the prestigious list.
He will have to shrug off competition from reigning footballer of the year, Borussia Dortmund and Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the Liverpool and Senegal in-form forward Sadio Mane.
Charismatic Gabon skipper Aubameyang pipped Ivory Coast great Yaya Toure to the award last year after his rain of goals at the Westfalonstadion.
The 26-year-old has remained prolific in front of goal, netting 25 goals in 31 appearances in the Bundesliga.
Mane became the most expensive African player when he moved to Liverpool for a transfer fee of £34 million last year, and he’s justified his high price tag by scoring nine goals in 19 matches for Liverpool this season.
Zambia skipper Rainford Kalaba will go up against Mamelodi Sundowns duo – Khama Billiat of Zimbabwe and Denis Onyango from Uganda – in the running for the best African-based player.
Nigeria’s U23 team, the Dream Team VI, is gunning for team of the year while Premier League-based youngsters Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) and Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) are top contenders in the various younger players categories.