JOHANNESBURG: Senegal’s El Hadji Diouf and Pape Bouba Diop and Egypt striker Ahmed Hossam were named on Tuesday as the final three in this year’s African Footballer of the Year award.
Diouf, who plays for English Premier League club Liverpool, won the 2001 award and could become only the third player to win in successive years, following in the footsteps of multiple winners Abedi Pele and George Weah.
The winner will be announced at the annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards, due to be held in either Durban or Johannesburg on March 31.
The final three were named by CAF on Tuesday following voting by members of the organisation’s media and technical committees. Votes for the top three were not disclosed.
Diop, who plays his club football in France, was named earlier this month ahead of Diouf as Senegal’s Footballer of the Year after his performances at the World Cup Finals.
Diop scored the opening goal of the tournament in Senegal’s shock 1-0 win over defending champions France in Seoul.
Hossam was a surprise finalist ahead of another Senegalese international, Khalilou Fadiga, who was outstanding in the World Cup and last January’s African Nations Cup finals in Mali.
The Egyptian striker won the league and Cup double with his Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam this year but was disappointing in the Nations Cup Finals in which Egypt were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
Fadiga finished fourth in the voting. He was followed by Lauren, who helped Cameroon win the Nations Cup and was a member of the Arsenal squad which won the English Premier League title.
Five Senegalese players finished in the top 10. All the top 10 play for European clubs.
Diouf, who moved to England from French club Lens in the off-season, was a comfortable winner of the 2001 award, ahead of Samuel Kuffour of Ghana.
The finalists for the other CAF awards, including best club, best team and best coach, are due to be named next month. – Reuters