Selected by football experts from around Africa and revealed today on BBC World Service’s flagship global morning radio programme, Newsday, the list of five contenders is:
* Demba Ba of Senegal and Newcastle United, UK
* Younes Belhanda of Morocco and Montpellier, France
* Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast and Shanghai Shenhua, China.
* Christopher Katongo of Zambia and Henan Construction FC, China
* Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast and Manchester City, UK.
The list was announced by the presenter of the BBC’s TV programme, Focus on Africa, Peter Okwoche, and was also broadcast and published online by the BBC’s African language services.
Fans can vote online at bbc.com/africanfootball and by SMS* to +44 7786 20 50 75, by texting 1 for Demba Ba; 2 for Younes Belhanda; 3 for Didier Drogba; 4 for Christopher Katongo; and 5 for Yaya Touré.
David Stead, Global News Sports Editor for Language Services says: “It’s a very refreshing list which reflects the fast-moving world of African football. Only Yaya Toure survives from last year’s vote but he deserves it after an outstanding season at title-winning Manchester City.
It’s great to see a North African player back in contention after a number of years, and Younes Belhanda has been instrumental in helping Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title.
Senegalese fans will be pleased to see Demba Ba nominated he has had to fight for his place at Newcastle, but has scored an impressive eight league goals so far this season.
“This list clearly highlights the growing importance of China to African players, with both Drogba and Katongo now stars in the Super League. Drogba will get strong support among Chelsea fans for his winning penalty in the Champions League final while Katongo achieved the huge feat of leading Zambia to Cup of Nations victory.”
The voting will close at 18.30 GMT during the Focus on Africa radio programme on Thursday 13 December 2012. BBC African Footballer of the Year 2012 will be announced on Monday 17 December.
Players’ profiles and highlights from their 2012 performance will feature across the BBC’s multilingual output for Africa.
*When voting by SMS, service providers’ standard international text rates apply. SMS are limited to one text per mobile phone number. For full details, go to bbc.com/africanfootball.