Percy Tau has been one of the shining lights for Bafana Bafana, and now his performances have been recognised by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Tau is the only South African nominated for the African Player of the Year award in a list of 34 of the continent’s finest footballers.
The 26-year-old, who joined Brighton and Hove Albion from Mamelodi Sundowns – and is on loan at Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise – will go up against the cream of the crop for the biggest award in African football.
Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are all in the mix, as are Arsenal playmaker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez.
Another nominee with South African connections is Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango of Uganda.
There is much greater local representation among the women’s categories, as Banyana Banyana have been nominated for the Women’s National Team of the Year.
Coach Desiree Ellis is also in the running, while prolific striker Thembi Kgatlana and captain Janine van Wyk have been included in the 15-strong list for the Women’s Player of the Year.
The awards gala will take place on Tuesday, January 8 in Dakar, Senegal.
Caf said that the two player of the year awards will be decided by a Caf technical and development committee, coaches and captains of the 54 African member national teams, coaches of the quarter-final teams in the Champions League and Confederation Cup, as well as media experts and legends.
The other awards will be chosen by the committee, coaches, media experts and legends above.
African Player of the Year nominees:
Abdelmoumene Djabou (Algeria), Ahmed Gomaa (Egypt), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria), Andre Onana (Cameroon), Anis Badri (Tunisia), Ayoub El Kaabi (Morocco), Ben Malango (DR Congo), Denis Onyango (Uganda), Fanev Andriatsima (Madagascar), Franck Kom (Cameroon), Jacinto Muondo Dala ‘Gelson’ (Angola), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco), Idrissa Gueye (Senegal), Ismail Haddad (Morocco), Jean Marc Makusu Mundele (DR Congo), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal), Mahmoud Benhalib (Morocco), Mehdi Benatia (Morocco), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Moussa Marega (Mali) Naby Keita (Guinea), Odion Ighalo (Nigeria), Percy Tau (South Africa), Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Taha Khenissi (Tunisia), Thomas Partey (Ghana), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Walid Soliman (Egypt), Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast), Yacine Brahimi (Algeria), Youcef Belaili (Algeria).
Women’s African Player of the Year:
Abdulai Mukarama (Ghana), Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria), Bassira Toure (Mali), Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa), Desire Oparanozia (Nigeria), Elizabeth Addo (Ghana), Francisca Ordega (Nigeria), Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon), Gaelle Enganamouit (Cameroon), Janine van Wyk (South Africa), Marlyse Ngo Ndoumbouk (Cameroon), Onome Ebi (Nigeria), Portia Boakye (Ghana), Raissa Feudjio (Cameroon), Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi).
Women’s Coach of the Year:
Bruce Mwape (Zambia), Desiree Ellis (South Africa), Joseph Brian Ndoko (Cameroon), Saloum Houssein (Mali), Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria).
Women’s National Team of the Year:
Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa.@ashfakmohamed