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Toure chasing third African Footballer of the Year title

Manchester City's Yaya Toure (C) is challenged by Swansea's Pablo Hernandez during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad s
Manchester City's Yaya Toure (C) is challenged by Swansea's Pablo Hernandez during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad s

By Mark Gleeson

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ivorian Yaya Toure heads a list of 10 nominees for this year's African Footballer of the Year award, an honor he is chasing for the third successive year.

The Manchester City midfielder was named on the shortlist on Thursday by the Confederation of African Football, who organize a poll of national team coaches from all 54 African countries to decide the winner.

Toure, who this week was given an African footballer of the year award for 2013 organized by the BBC, will be favorite in a year in which there were no outstanding individual achievers.

The 30-year-old helped the Ivory Coast to World Cup qualification and continued his fine form with Manchester City to become one of the leading figures in the English Premier League.

Toure would become the third player to win the African Footballer of the Year title three years in a row, matching the achievement of Ghana's Abedi Pele from 1991-93 (when the award was run by France Football magazine) and Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

He faces his biggest challenge from Mohamed Aboutrika and Jonathan Pitroipa.

Aboutrika is the 35-year-old Egyptian midfielder who last month steered his club, Al Ahli, to a fifth Champions League success in the last nine years.

Pitroipa, the Stade Rennes winger, had a near-fairytale 2013, guiding his Burkina Faso team to the final of the African Nations Cup in February and the brink of the 2014 World Cup as they lost on away goals to Algeria in the African qualifying playoffs last month.

Two-time former winner Didier Drogba is also in the field, along with four players from Nigeria's Nations Cup-winning squad: goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, midfielder John Obi Mikel, and strikers Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa.

The other candidates are Ghana's Asamoah Gyan, runner-up in 2010, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gabon striker.

CAF are also organizing an award for the best African footballer based in Africa, with last year's winner - Aboutrika - heading a list of five candidates that also includes Sunday Mba, the midfielder from Nigerian club Warri Wolves who scored Nigeria's winner in the Nations Cup final against Burkina Faso in Johannesburg.

The winners will be named at a ceremony in Lagos on January 9.

(Editing by Stephen Wood)

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