The race for the winner of the 2013 BBC African Footballer of the Year Award hots up with the unveiling of the names of the five candidates.
Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure made the shortlist for the fifth consecutive year and is joined by Nigerians Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi, Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon.
The winner will be decided by African football fans, who have until 18:00 GMT on Monday, 25 November to vote for their choice.
The winner will be announced on Monday, 2 December at 17:35 GMT on the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio and television programmes.
No player on this year’s shortlist, drawn up from votes by 44 journalists across Africa, has won the BBC award before and two – Pitroipa and Aubameyang – are the first nominees from their respective countries.
Aubameyang, 24, has been in prolific form over the past year – ending the 2012-13 season with 19 goals for St-Etienne, which put him second in the list of top scorers in the French Ligue 1, while he also helped them win the French Cup to claim his first trophy as a professional.
Those performances earned him a summer transfer to Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund, and he has already scored seven goals in 11 games for the German side.
Pitroipa’s biggest highlights came on the international stage as the 27-year-old winger was named player of the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, helping Burkina Faso surprise everyone by reaching the final.
The Rennes man has continued to shine for his country, hitting three goals in World Cup qualification as the Burkinabe aim to reach Brazil by completing a play-off victory over Algeria, having won the first leg 3-2.
Two players on the list fared even better in this year’s Nations Cup; Mikel and Moses both heavily involved as Nigeria lifted the trophy for the first time in 19 years.
Mikel, 26, also won the Europa League with Chelsea, while 2013 was the year he finally scored a goal for the Blues, that coming in his 185th game.
Goals have flowed more readily for 22-year-old Moses, the winger hit six for Chelsea in 2013 before he moved on a season-long loan to Liverpool, where he scored on his debut in September.
Yet the most potent of the three English Premier League players on the list is midfielder Toure. The Ivorian, 30, has bagged 12 goals so far in 2013 – including some exquisite free-kicks.
Although he and his Manchester City team-mates were unable to retain their league title last season, Toure was still a force to be reckoned with in the centre of the park – commanding, creative and increasingly clinical in front of goal.