As the LaLiga Santander season draws to a close, the league’s African footballers will take centre stage.
The Spanish club football structure is calling on fans to select the winner of the maiden African MVP Award.
LaLiga launched the award in January to acknowledge the value of the contribution of African players to the growth of the league, with more than 25 African players currently featuring in the Spanish top flight.
Moroccan and Sevilla goalkeeper, Yassine “Bono” Bounou, was voted the mid-season MVP award winner in a campaign that reached 690 million people.
Bounou has remained a steady influence as Sevilla have surged into the UEFA Champions League places, conceding just 31 goals in his 38 games for Sevilla this season, including an unusual stat for a goalkeeper of laying on two goal assists this season with his long range passing.
However, Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has lit up the second half of the LaLiga season after his loan signing for Barcelona in January from Arsenal, breaking a club record in beating the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to 10 goals for Barca in just his first 14 appearances for the club.
In his 19 appearances for Barca, Aubameyang scored 11 goals and provided an assist to help lead coach Xavi’s rebuild of Barca.
Abde Ezzalzoul, a Moroccan star, also made an early impact under Xavi this season.
Meanwhile, other Moroccan stars to feature prominently for Sevilla this season are Munir El Haddadi and Youssef En-Nesyri, who in his debut season in LaLiga last season scored back-to-back LaLiga hat-tricks.
Elsewhere, Nigerian international Samuel Chukwueze has been another popular African player in LaLiga this season, coming back from injury to help Villareal to a memorable UEFA Champions League semifinal run.
Chukwueze has scored seven goals in all competitions for Villareal this season and was joined at the club this season by Senegalese attacker Boulaye Dia.
Atlético de Madrid midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, from Central African Republic, has been an influential figure for coach Diego Simeone this season.
The 29-year-old has reaffirmed his reputation as a solid defensive midfielder. Kondogbia also scored his first LaLiga goal for Atléti this campaign.
Public voting went live this week on LaLiga’s social media platforms, following the launch of the process by former Nigerian LaLiga star Mutiu Adepoju.
Fans can cast their votes here.
Fans participating in the voting for the African MVP Award competition will stand a chance to win a trip to Spain to watch a LaLiga Santander match live.
The competition will close on the last day of the LaLiga season on May 22, with those who participate in the vote also standing a chance to win official LaLiga match jerseys.
LaLiga Southern African managing director Marcos Pelegrin said:
"This competition is a fitting tribute to the growth and stature of the African market to LaLiga and we encourage fans to participate in their numbers to vote for their standout African LaLiga Santander star this season.”