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Wanyama, Were out of the running for Africa’s best players

Harambee Stars duo of Victor Wanyama and Jesse Were have missed out on the final shortlist of this year’s Caf Africa Player of the Year awards.

These two players had been named in the 30 man shortlist for the continent’s best player awards, namely Caf Africa Player of the Year, and Caf African based Player of the year respectively.

Were has had a standout season at Zambian giants Zesco United while Wanyama has been among the most consistent performers in England initially at Southampton and now Tottenham Hotspur.

Following the release of the five man shortlist in the two categories by the Cairo based continental football body on Tuesday, Leicester forward Riyard Mahrez is now considered favourite to win the overall Player of the Year award.

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The Algerian forward, who enjoyed a stellar season in England culminating in winning the English Premier League title against all odds in May, is however, expected to face stiff competition from compatriot and clubmate Islam Slimani, Senegalese Saido Mane (Liverpool), Mohammed Salah (AS Roma and Egypt) and Pierre Emerick Aubamayang (Borrusia Dortmund and Gabon).

In the category for African-based players, Zimbabwe forward Khama Billiat remains the front runner after his outstanding season at newly crowned African champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.

Billiat will compete against club mates Dennis Onyango (Uganda), Keegan Dolly (Zimbabwe) and Hlampho Kekama (South Africa) as well as Zambian Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe), who was key to his club’s success in the Caf Confederation Cup.

The winning duo will be picked by Africa’s 54 national team coaches including Kenya’s Stanley Okumbi, and announced at the annual gala awards in Abuja, Nigeria on January 5, 2017.