Gabon’s Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Senegal’s Liverpool forward Sadio Mane are the only Africans named on the 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon d’Or award, given to the world’s best player.
Aubameyang set a new Bundesliga record for a foreign-born player in the 2016/17 season, scoring 31 times to help Dortmund secure third place and automatic qualification for this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage.
The 28 year old has picked up from where he left last term, leading the scorers chat with eight goals and an assist in seven games.
Liverpool’s Mane also booked his place in the elite shortlist after netting 13 times in just 29 appearances for the Merseyside club last season. His influence was so much for Liverpool that when he left for the Africa Cup of Nations, the club recorder only one win in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old currently has three goals in the PL.
Usual names such as Crictiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard among others are also named in the list.
Argentina’s Messi has won the coveted trophy a record five times, a tally only rivaled by Portugal’s Ronaldo, who has four.
Both are seen as the main contenders of the award.