BBC African Footballer of the Year shortlist revealed

The five candidates for the 2011 BBC African Footballer of the Year award have been revealed on the BBC's Sport Today programme.

The Ivorian pair of Yaya Toure and Gervinho as well as Andre 'Dede' Ayew of Ghana, Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o and Mali's Seydou Keita made the shortlist.

The winner will be decided by African football fans, who have until 9 December to vote for their choice.

Voting for the award will take place via text and online.

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED

The winner will be announced a week later on 16 December on the BBC's Sport Today programme.

Both Manchester City striker Yaya Toure and Arsenal midfielder Gervinho starred for Ivory Coast as they qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations by winning all their matches.

Toure scored the winner for Manchester City as they won the FA Cup while Gervinho was instrumental in Lille's double in France before he moved to Arsenal.

Ayew, who is one of Ghana's key players, helped Marseille to win the French League Cup and Super Cup while Mali's Seydou Keita was part of Barcelona's historic Champions League winning team.

Eto'o netted 21 goals for Italian side Inter Milan before leaving for Russian Anzhi Makhachkala in August and has scored seven goals in eight matches so far this season.

The shortlist was determined by a panel of experts across Africa who took into consideration individual skill, technical ability, teamwork, consistency, impact on results and fair play.

"This shortlist reinforces the importance of African footballers to Europe's top clubs. It will be intriguing to see who triumphs in the end," the BBC's African Football blogger Piers Edwards said.

Last year's winner Asamoah Gyan narrowly missed out on the shortlist.

Previous winners of BBC African Footballer of the Year award:

2010 - Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)

2009 - Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)

2008 - Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)

2007 - Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)

2006 - Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)

2005 - Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)

2004 - Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)

2003 - Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)

2002 - El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)

2001 - Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)

2000 - Patrick Mboma (Parma & Cameroon)