Eto'o (left) finished third in last year's award won by Ronaldinho
Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Samuel Eto'o are on Fifa's 30-man shortlist for World Player of the Year award.
Drogba, who led Ivory Coast to the World Cup, helped his English club Chelsea to win the Premiership title for the second time in row.
Essien, who also plays for Chelsea, was instrumental in Ghana's good showing at the World Cup in Germany.
Eto'o was a key member of the Spanish side Barcelona that won the Uefa Champions League in May.
He scored 26 times last season to finish the top scorer in La Liga.
The striker, who was voted third in Fifa's World player of the year award for 2005, has been Africa's top player for each of the last three seasons.
Meanwhile, Nigeria striker Cynthia Uwak is the only African player on the
shortlist for the women's player of the year award.
Uwak was in excellent form at the recent Fifa U-20 Women's World Championship in Russia.
She scored four goals in the tournament.
The head coaches and captains of all national teams will now vote for their best players from the shortlist.
The prize will be awarded in Zurich on 18 December.
Fifa World Player of the Year shortlist:
Adriano (Inter Milan, Brazil), Michael Ballack (Chelsea, Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, Italy), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid, Italy), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Portugal), Petr Cech (Chelsea, Czech Republic), Deco (Barcelona, Portugal), Didier Drogba (Chelsea, Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Chelsea, Ghana), Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona, Cameroon), Luis Figo (Inter Milan, Portugal), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan, Italy), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, England), Thierry Henry (Arsenal, France), Kaka (AC Milan, Brazil), Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen, Germany), Philippe Lahm (Bayern Munich, Germany), Frank Lampard (Chelsea, England), Jens Lehmann (Arsenal, Germany), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan, Italy), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan, Italy), Franck Ribery (Marseille, France), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal, Argentina), Ronaldinho (Barcelona, Brazil), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, England), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal, Czech Republic), Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea, Ukraine), Lilian Thuram (Barcelona, France), Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan, France), Zinedine Zidane (retired, France).