The Manchester City midfielder is joined by nine others on the shortlist for the 2012 accolade, three of which currently operate in the Premier League
The five nominees for the Best African Player on the continent were also released alongside other categories for which winners will be announced at the Awards Gala scheduled to take place in Accra, Ghana on December 20.
Three Ivorians including Yaya Toure, Gervinho of Arsenal and two-time winner Didier Drogba feature on the list. Their contributions to the Elephants’ near flawless campaign at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, which they narrowly lost to Zambia on penalties in a tense final, have been taken into account.
However, the former Chelsea talisman most probably owes his nomination to his outstanding performance during the final of the Uefa Champions League in May, in which the Blues clinched their first ever title against German side Bayern Munich.
Newcastle's Demba Ba and John Obi Mikel complete the list of players plying their trade in the Premier League, with the latter rewarded for the part he played in the Blues' run to continental success, while Barcelona new boy Alex Song is also nominated thanks mainly to his contributions in his impressive final year at Arsenal.
Ghana’s Andre Ayew, who made the final three last year, had a productive 2011-12 season, scoring 16 goals in the Ligue 1 with Marseille. His 2012 Afcon outing with the Black Stars, who reached the semi-finals, was also considered.
As widely expected, Zambia captain Christopher Katongo made the list, for leading his side to their first Afcon title at the Gabon-Equatorial Guinea competition and for his role in the Chipolopolo’s recent qualification for the 2013 tournament.
Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Younes Belhanda from Morocco were included for their remarkable efforts at club and national team levels.The shortlists, which were decided by Caf’s technical, football and media committees, will now be passed on to head coaches and technical directors from Caf member associations who will vote to decide the eventual winners.