Salah amongst the nominees as BBC announces African Footballer of the Year shortlist

The Liverpool striker won the award in 2017 after a year which saw him make an explosive start to life in England and lead Egypt to the World Cup

The nominees for the BBC's 2018 African Footballer of the Year have been announced.  

The shortlist, which has been compiled by a panel of African football experts, comprises Medhi Benatia (Morocco), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Thomas Partey (Ghana) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt).

The vote opened at 7pm GMT on Saturday 17 November and is set to close on Sunday 2 December, with the results due be announced on Friday 14 December at 17:30.

Liverpool and Egypt striker Salah was last year's winner, in a year that saw him make the switch from Serie A with Roma to the Premier League and lead his country to a first World Cup finals since 1990. 

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The award's previous winners have included Nigeria's Jay-Jay Okocha, Ghana's Michael Essien, the Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, and Algeria's Riyad Mahrez.

Four of this year's five nominees competed at this summer's World Cup in Russia, with Benatia captaining a Morocco side that drew 2-2 with Spain in the group stages and Koulibaly playing every minute for Senegal as they narrowly failed to reach the last 16.

Liverpool striker Mane was also ever-present for Senegal in the group stage and also netted Liverpool's goal in their 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in the summer, whilst Salah scored both of Egypt's goals as they fell short of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Atletico Madrid and Ghana defender Partey is the only player on the shortlist not to have competed in Russia, but did make a late substitute appearance in the final as Diego Simeone's side won the Europa League with a 3-0 victory over Marseilles at the back end of last season.