Blues pair in running for African gong

Blues pair in running for African gong

Published Feb. 17, 2010 3:39 p.m. ET

Chelsea pair Didier Drogba and Michael Essien have been included in the final three-man shortlist for the 2009 Africa Player of the Year award.

Ivory Coast striker Drogba and Ghana midfielder Essien are joined by Inter Milan forward Samuel Eto'o in the race for the annual prize, which was won by Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor in 2008.

Essien, who is nominated for a fourth consecutive year, is yet to claim the award, while Drogba won it in 2006.

Eto'o, meanwhile, was named best player three times in a row between 2003 and 2005.

African Nations Cup finalists Ghana are contenders for several other awards, including the continent's team of the year, where they are vying with Algeria and Ivory Coast.

The Black Stars also have a Young Player of the Year contender in Dominic Adiyiah of AC Milan, who will be up against South African Kermit Erasmus of Feyenoord and Nigeria's Sani Emmanuel from Bodens BK.

Ghanaian Under-20 World Cup-winning boss Sellas Tetteh has been nominated for the Coach of the Year award along with Diego Garzitto, who guided DR Congo's club side TP Mazembe to the CAF Champions League title last season, and Nigeria Under-17 chief John Obuh.

Mazembe are also in the race for the best African club of 2009, where they face competition from Nigerian outfit Heartland FC and Mali's Stade Malien.

Mazembe captain Mputu Mabi is chasing the best African-based prize along with Uche Agba of Heartland and Abdelmalek Ziaya, who plays for Entente Setif in Algeria.

The winners of the awards will be named at a ceremony to be held in the Ghanaian capital Accra on March 11.