Three Zesco United players have made the preliminary 25-man shortlist for the 2016 CAF African-based Player of the Year award.

All three are strikers following their inspiring performances in Zesco’s run through to the 2016 CAF Champions League semifinals where the team was eliminated by Mamelodi Sundowns.

DR Congo-born Idris Mbombo who top scored for Zesco in the tournament on five goals leads the trio.

Others ae Kenya striker Jesse Were and Zambia attacker Jackson Mwanza who each scored four goals.

The list of 25 will be cut to ten, then five until the final three at the end of November.

The trio, though, faces a strong challenge from Zimbabwean midfielder Khama Billiat and Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango who inspired Sundowns to the Champions League final.

Furthermore, Billiat and Onyango played critical roles in Zimbabwe and Uganda’s successful 2017 Africa Cup qualifying run.

Zimbabwe have qualified to the Africa Cup for the first time since 2006 while Uganda return for the first time since 1978.

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