The final installment of the Award Winners series will feature the candidates for the African Player of the Year. The winner of the 2007 award went to Sevilla’s Mali striker Frédéric Kanouté.
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Kanouté was the 1st African P.O.Y. not to be born in Africa, but this year’s candidates & eventual winner were all born on the African continent. The WCB list of candidates is slightly different from shortlist that was formally announced so here are our three top candidates for African Footballer Of The Year (in no particular order):

Mohamed Aboutrika
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He is the best African footballer plying his trade in Africa. Even though he wears No. 22, he has the skills of a true No. 10. Aboutrika led Egypt to its 5th African Cup of Nations title, scoring the trophy clincher in the final vs. Cameroon. He finished tied for 2nd on the tournament’s goal scoring list. Despite injury he has been instrumental in leading African superclub Al-Ahly to the 2008 CAF Champions League Final. It is the 4th time in the last 4 years that Al-Ahly has reached the final. Aboutrika could break Cameroon hearts twice in 2008 because his Al-Ahly team is on the verge of defeating Cameroon side Cotonsport Garoua in the final and thus leading Al-Ahly to a record 6th African Club title.

Samuel Eto’o
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He wasn’t on the announced formal shortlist for the award and as a 3-time winner he’s already had his time but in ’08, Eto’o was great. He was the leading goal scorer in the African Cup of Nations in leading Cameroon to a surprise final appearance. Despite missing time during Barca’s season due to the Cup of Nations and injury he still managed 16 goals in 18 La Liga appearances. He didn’t have the hardware like Aboutrika but he was still a beast and finished with same trophy count as Michael Essien and as many goals as Didier Drogba.

Emmanuel Adebayor
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The tall lanky forward from Togo had a breakout season for Arsenal. Under Arsene Wenger’s flowing, sharp cutting passing system, Adebayor flourished scoring 24 goals in the Premiership finishing 2nd along with Liverpool’s Fernando Torres and behind Man U’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Togo did not participate in the African Cup of Nations but his breakout Premiership campaign make him a legitimate candidate for African Player of the Year and a force on the European club scene and Togo national team for a good while.

The winner of the title of African Footballer of the Year is:
Mohamed Aboutrika
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The Egyptian playmaker is the deserving winner of African Player of the Year because he performed great in the biggest stages at both the club and national team levels. The same argument made earlier for Joffre Guerron and his South American Player of the Year can be made for Mohamed Aboutrika. The best player on the best club team and in Aboutrika’s case, the best player on the best national team in Africa. He would make history if he wins the African P.O.Y. because since the Confederation of African Football gave out the award in 1992, no Egyptian has ever won. We should see soon, a Pharaoh once again reigning over Africa.