Chelsea stars Didier Drogba and Michael Essien are up for African Player of the Year.

Drogba, winner of the award in 2006, and Essien, who has been in the final three for the past four years but never the winner, are joined by a player they will soon be in Champions League contest with - Inter's Samuel Eto'o.

Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure, both of Barcelona, were on the initial five-man shortlist but failed to make the cut.

The winner, decided by a poll of the national coaches from 53 African countries, will be announced at an Awards Gala on 11 March in Ghana.