has specially learnt that Mikel Obi, who helped Chelsea regain the English Premier League crown last season, has failed to make a 17-man list of nominees for the 2010 CAF Player of the Year Award.

Rather it is compatriot Obinna Nsofor, who is at West Ham United on loan from Inter Milan of Italy, who made the list.

The last time a Nigerian won the continent’s biggest individual accolade was in 1999, when Nwankwo Kanu was picked as Africa’s top star. Kanu was also adjudged the continent’s foremost performer in 1996.

The list of nominees is dominated by players from Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Chelsea ace Michael Essien leads the Ghanaian contingent which also includes Asamoah Gyan, Asamoah Kwadwo and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Didier Drogba is one of four Ivorians being considered for the award, the others being Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and Kolo Toure.

The other nominees are Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Madjid Bougherra (Algeria), Steven Pienaar (South Africa), Mohamed Zidan (Egypt), Frederic Kanoute, Seydou Keita (Mali), Marouane Chamakh (Morocco) and Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo).

The list will be pruned later in the year.

Madjid Bougherra (Rangers/Algeria)
Steven Pienaar (Everton/South Africa)
Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan/Cameroon)
Kolo Habib Touré (Manchester City/Ivory Coast)
Didier Drogba (Chelsea/Ivory Coast)
Solomon Kalou (Chelsea/Ivory Coast)
Gervinho (Lille/Ivory Coast)
Mohamed Zidan (Dortmund/Egypt)
Michael Essien (Chelsea/Ghana)
Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland/Ghana)
Asamoah Kwadwo (Udinese/Ghana)
Prince Boateng (Milan AC/Ghana)
Frédéric Kanouté (FC Sévilla/Mali)
Seydou Keita (FC Barcelona/Mali)
Marouane Chamakh (Arsenal/Morocco)
Victor Nsofor Obinna (Inter Milan, on loan to West Ham/Nigeria)
Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City/Togo)