Football lovers across Africa can now start voting for which player they would like to be crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2008.
A shortlist of five players has been drawn up by football experts from countries across Africa and fans have up until 1700 GMT on Friday 9 January 2009 to vote for their favourite.
The shortlisted players are: Mohamed Aboutrika of Al Ahly and Egypt; Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal and Togo; Samuel Eto’o of Barcelona and Cameroon; Didier Drogba of Chelsea and the Ivory Coast and Amr Zaki of Wigan Athletic and Egypt.
All five contenders were chosen for their individuality, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play during 2008. Fans can vote online at bbcworldservice.com/afoy or by sending a text with the word Vote 1 for Aboutrika, Vote 2 for Adebayor, Vote 3 for Drogba, Vote 4 for Eto’o and Vote 5 for Zaki to +44 77 86 20 20 25.
BBC sports presenter Farayi Mungazi, who announced the shortlist on the popular BBC sports programme Fast Track, says: “The award will be voted for exclusively by the fans, which is always fantastic, and this year they have a particularly hard job as all five shortlisted players are wonderfully gifted.”
Jay Jay Okocha, two-time winner of the award, will take part in a special one-hour radio programme on BBC World Service discussing the 2010 World Cup and its potential impact on the future of African football.
Hosted by Farayi Mungazi, the show will be recorded at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and can be heard on Friday 12 December at 1600 GMT.
Also taking part in the programme will be Mercy Akide, the former Nigerian women’s international and former African Footballer of the Year, as well as Jacob Mulee, former Kenya goalkeeper and national coach.