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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 12:26 GMT
Five shortlisted for BBC Award
Mohamed Barakat
Egypt's Mohamed Barakat was the 2005 BBC African Player of the Year

The countdown is underway to this year's announcement of the BBC African Footballer of the Year.

Five contenders are in the running to be crowned the continent's most outstanding player of the past 12 months.

Egyptian playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika, Ghana midfield general, Michael Essien, Cameroon's goal machine Samuel Eto'o, Ivory Coast goal-poacher Didier Drogba and Angolan international Flavio are on the shortlist.

The shortlist was drawn up from a combination of online and postal public votes, and a BBC Sport panel of experts.

For the first time in the history of the award, the winner will be announced after a live public vote during the acclaimed BBC World Service's African sports programme, Fast Track.

Listeners of the show, hosted by Farayi Mungazi, will be able to have their say by phone and text on 5 January 2007.

Nothing, in our view, is more logical than to have the audience of a programme which boasts unrivalled coverage of African sport decide who wins this prestigious award.

We at the BBC are all very excited, so stand by your phones between 1600 and 1700 GMT on 5 January 2007.

Early birds can use the form on the right to cast their votes but remember to spell the name of your player as it appears on our list, otherwise it will NOT register on our system.

One thing is for sure - it promises to be the most open and exciting BBC African Footballer of the Year contest for years.



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