Salah, Mane and Aubameyang make African Confederation player of year shortlist

Liverpool's Sadia Mane vies for the ball with Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland Niles during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool England Saturday Dec. 29 2018

Liverpool's Sadia Mane vies for the ball with Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland Niles during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool England Saturday Dec. 29 2018

The 27-year-old, who is a prime transfer target for Manchester United, according to sources, garnered 41% of the vote with Mane, who is the Senegal's skipper, coming second with 26% while Sabaly managed 12%.

As expected, reigning Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah, his Liverpool club-mate Sadio Mane and 2015 victor, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, have made the top three for the most prestigious individual accolade in African football.

The victor will be announced on January 8 in Dakar, Senegal.

Salah claimed the honour a year ago and will be favourite again following another successful first half of the season for Liverpool.

Team-mate Mane - second in 2017 - has been similarly influential in the Reds' success, forming a devastating forward line along with Salah and Roberto Firmino, and netted in the Kiev final defeat to Real Madrid. He won the award in 2015.

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The Confederation of African Football announced the finalists on Tuesday from an original list of 34 players.

Senegalese Diouf (2001, 2002), Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon (2003, 2004) and Toure (2011, 2012) are the only past winners that won three consecutive titles.

He will be hoping to be third time lucky and become the second Senegalese to win the topmost individual honour after Diouf.

Salah and Mane both went to the World Cup, with Egypt and Senegal respectively, but neither made it past the group stage.

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