The CAF Men's Player of the Year award is set to take centre stage again, after a two-year hiatus.
African Footballer of the Year Award winners [Updated List 1970 - 2022]
Sadio Mane wins the 2022 CAF Player of the Year Award. See all the other winners since 1970 featuring Kanu Nwankwo, Didier Drogba, and Samuel Eto'o
Africa's Footballer of the Year award, presented to the best African footballer each year, has been conferred by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) since 1992.
An earlier African Footballer of the Year Golden Ball award was given out between 1970 and 1994 by France Football magazine.
Starting with those who have won multiple awards, Pulse Sports Nigeria lists all the men who been recognized as Africa's best player since 1970.
Thomas N'Kono (Cameroon - 1979, 1982)
N'Kono to date remains the only goalkeeper to have won Africa's Footballer of the Year award and is one of the greatest goalkeepers to have ever sprung from the continent of Africa.
After his performance with Canon Yaounde earned him an African Footballer of the Year award in 1979, N'Kono moved to Spain to play for Espanyol. He hardly ever missed a game while with the Catalans that season and, with his solid performances in the 1992 FIFA World Cup, N'Kono was awarded another player of the year honour in 1982.
El Hadji Diouf (Senegal - 2001, 2002)
Following a fabulous season in the French Ligue that saw Lens qualify for the UEFA Champions League and, Senegal stun heavyweights at the World Cup to get to the quarterfinals of the competition, Diouf was crowned as Africa's best footballer of the year, 2001.
He was awarded a second consecutive African Footballer of the Year award in 2002, having put up an impressive performance during his Premier League debut season with Liverpool. Her also helped Senegal finish as runners-up at the 2002 AFCON hosted by Mali.
Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria - 1996, 1999)
Nwankwo Kanu was one of the stars of Nigeria's golden generation and is considered one of the greatest Nigerian players to have ever played the game. His performances in 1996 with both the national team at the Atlanta '96 Olympics and Inter Milan, saw him named as the African Player of the Year.
After once again blowing up the football world - this time with Arsenal - including scoring a hat-trick in just fifteen minutes against Chelsea in October 1999 to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory, Kanu was named Africa's Footballer of the Year three years later.
Mohamed Salah (Egypt - 2017, 2018)
Following his move to Liverpool, Salah had some of the greatest individual successes ever recorded by an African. In his debut season, the Egyptian became the Premier's League's all-time highest goalscorer for a 38-game season and helped Liverpool to their first UEFA Champions League final in 11 years.
The Egyptian was awarded the African Footballer of the Year Award for both 2017 and 2018 as a result of his performances in England and Europe, which extended into the 2018 season.
Roger Milla (Cameroon - 1976, 1990)
Milla was one of the first African players to be major stars on the international stage, playing in three World Cups for Cameroon. Milla most remarkably left his mark in the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
Before his award-winning 1990 football year, Milla's performances in the African Cup Winners' Cup (now CAF Confederations Cup), saw him named the African Footballer of the Year in 1976.
Didier Drogba (Cote d'Ivoire - 2006, 2009)
Drogba had unforgettable seasons with Chelsea, dominating the African football scene between 2003 and 2013.
After helping Chelsea win the Premier League, finishing as the league's top scorer, winning the FA Cup, the League Cup, and captaining Cote d’Ivoire to their second Africa Cup of Nations final, Drogba was named as the 2006 African Player of the Year. He also helped them qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup,
He was crowned for a second time in 2009 after he repeated his performances on both the club and national scene.
Sadio Mane (Senegal - 2019, 2022)
Since El Hadji Diouf in 20022, Sadio Mane became the first Senegalese footballer to win back-to-back CAF African Player of the Year awards when he scooped up the award in 2019 and 2022. The awards were not given out in 2020 and 2021 due to a break occasioned by the coronavirus outbreak.
Mane clinched the award for the first time in 2019 after helping Liverpool win the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League and leading his national team to a runners-up spot at the 2019 AFCON.
Now a Bayern Munich player, Mane successfully retained his award in July 2022 after going one better on the continent, leading the Teranga Lions to win the 2022 AFCON. he also helped secure qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
On both occasions, the pacy winger edged Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah to the AFCON and World Cup triumphs as well as the Footballer of the Year awards.
Abedi Pele (Ghana - 1991, 1992, 1993)
Abedi Pele played for several European clubs but found his fame in the French Ligue 1 with Lille and Marseille. It was at the latter that he won the UEFA Champions League in 1993, amongst other titles.
After spearheading perhaps Europe's strongest league side of the early 1990s, including heading to a European Cup final defeat, Pele won his first African Player of the Year Award in 1991.
He received two more Footballer of the Year awards in 1992 and 1993, for his dazzling performances on the club scene and at the 1992 AFCON.
George Weah (Liberia - 1989, 1994, 1995)
After signing with Arsene Wenger at Monaco in 1988, Weah rose to become one of the best players in not just Africa, but also in the World. He was awarded the African Footballer of the Year, for the first time in 1989.
He won the award again five years later while playing for PSG - after helping them to the French league title in 1994.
An even more prolific 1995 season saw Weah dominate with PSG, and his new club AC Milan. He won the French Cup double, topped the Champions League scorers chart, and also helped AC Milan to the Italian league in 1996.
He remains the only African to have won the Ballon d'Or, having done so in 1995, alongside a third African Player of the Year award.
Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Often regarded as one of the best players in the world to have played in his position, Toure was voted African Footballer of the Year for a joint-record four times in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
His dominance with Manchester City saw him help the club to multiple titles in this timeframe. He also played a big role in Ivory Coast's run to the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations where they lost to Zambia.
Toure crowned his career with a victory at the 2015 AFCON tournament, Ivory Coast's first-ever AFCON triumph.
Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010)
Eto'o had his name on everyone's lips between 2003 and 2006, and then again in 2010: particularly for his performances with Mallorca, Barcelona and Inter Milan.
In his five seasons at Camp Nou, Eto’o scored 130 goals for Barcelona, helping them to the La Liga title in 2005, and 2009. He also won the UEFA Champions League in 2009 (with Barcelona), and then 2010 (with Inter Milan).
He won the Italian double in 2010, and the FIFA Club World Cup. His undeniable brilliance helped Eto'o pick up his fourth African Footballer of the Year award in 2010.
One-time African Footballer of the Year Award winners
Salif Keita (Mali) - 1970
Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana) - 1971
Cherif Souleymane (Guinea) - 1972
Bwanga Tshimne (Zaire/DR Congo) - 1973
Paul Moukila (Congo Republic) - 1974
Ahmed Faras (Morocco) - 1975
Tarak Dhiab (Tunisia) - 1977
Karim AbdulRazak (Ghana) - 1978
Jean Manga-Onguene (Cameroon) - 1980
Lakhdar Belloumi (Algeria) - 1981
Mahmoud El Khatib (Egypt) - 1983
Theophile Abega (Cameroon) - 1984
Mohamed Timoumi (Morocco) - 1985
Ezzaki Badou (Morocco) - 1986
Rabah Madjer (Algeria) - 1987
Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) - 1988
Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria) - 1994
Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria) - 1997
Mustapha Hadji (Morocco) - 1998
Patrick M'Boma (Cameroon) - 2000
Frederic Kanoute (Mali) - 2007
Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) - 2008
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) - 2015
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) - 2016
Sadio Mane (Senegal) - 2019