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Nov 23, 2012

Toure, Drogba head African award list

Yaya Toure is in the running to be named African Footballer of the Year for the second year in succession after being named on the five-man shortlist for the award alongside Didier Drogba, Andre Ayew, Demba Ba and Alex Song by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The quintet were selected from an original list of 34 names - chosen by head coaches and technical directors of football associations affiliated to CAF - with the winner to be revealed at an awards ceremony in Accra on December 20, which will also see the Coach of the Year and Club of the Year announced.

Manchester City midfielder Toure scooped the honour last year after helping his club end their 35-year trophy drought with the winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final. This year, he played a major role in City claiming their first ever Premier League title - contributing six goals and six assists in 32 games.

Despite a memorable year for Toure, however, it is former Chelsea striker Drogba who is favourite to pick up the prize for the third time in his career.

The Ivory Coast captain began the year with African Nations Cup disappointment, as he missed a penalty in the shock final defeat to Zambia, but made amends with a fine showing in the Champions League final, scoring a late equaliser against Bayern Munich before dispatching the decisive spot-kick in the shootout as Chelsea ended their long wait for the trophy.

Drogba, 34, is currently playing for Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, though he has recently been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge on loan.

Marseille and Ghana star Ayew, who came third in last year's poll and is the son of African legend and three-time award winner Abedi Pele, is also on the shortlist along with Barcelona's Cameroon midfielder Song, whose excellent campaign with Arsenal earned him a summer move to Camp Nou.

The fifth of the contenders is Senegal forward Demba Ba. The former West Ham and Hoffenheim man was instrumental in Newcastle's fifth-placed Premier League finish as he scored 16 goals in 34 games for the Magpies.

The Africa-based Player of the Year nominees are Egypt and Al Ahly midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika, and Zambian duo Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu - who both play for TP Mazembe.

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