CAIRO:  Three members of the Zambia team who made history by winning the African Nations Cup for the first time last spring are included in the shortlists for the continental confederation’s Players of the Year awards writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Africa-based nominees include outstanding leftback Stoppila Sunzu and midfielder Rainford Kalaba, both of whom play their club football in DR Congo with TP Mazembe.

The only  Zambian nominee among the overall awards is captain Christopher Katongo who plays in China with Henan Construction and was player of the tournament at the Nations Cup.

Last year’s winner Yaya Toure, of Manchester City, is one of four England-based players up for the main 2012 award along with Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, Arsenal striker Gervinho and Newcastle forward Demba Ba.

Also on the list are two Premier exiles in former Arsenal midfielder Alexandre Song, now with Barcelona, and ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, now with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

Morocco’s Younes Belhanda has been recognised for his contribution to French side Montpellier’s French league success.

The candidates for the award will be reduced to a list of three in the last week of November. The awards, which also include Coach of the Year and Club of the Year will be announced at a ceremony on 20 December in the Banquet Hall, State House in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

Nominees for African Player of the Year:

Alexander Song: Barcelona (Spain) Country: Cameroon

Andre Ayew: Marseille (France) Country: Ghana

Christopher Katong: Henan Construction (China) Country: Zambia

Demba Ba: for Newcastle United (England) Country: Senegal

Didier Drogba: Shanghai Shenhua (China) Country: Ivory Coast

Gervinho: Arsenal (England) Country: Ivory Coast

John Obi Mikel: Chelsea (England) Country: Nigeria

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Saint Etienne (France) Country: Gabon

Yaya Toure: Manchester City (England) Country: Ivory Coast

Younes Belhanda: Montpellier (France) Country: Morocco

Nominees for Africa-based Player of the Year

Mohamed Aboutreika: Al-Ahly (Egypt) Country: Egypt

Rainford Kalaba: TP Mazembe (DR Congo) Country: Zambia

Stoppila Sunzu: TP Mazembe (DR Congo) Country: Zambia

Yannick N’Djeng: Esperance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia) Country: Cameroon

Yousse Msakni: Esperance Sportive de Tunis (Tunisia) Country: Tunisia

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