The African Footballer of the Year will be revealed in Dakar next month at a gala ceremony on January 23, the Confederation of African Football announced on Wednesday.
CAF had originally said the winner would be announced this month but have now changed the date without offering any explanation.
Five candidates for the annual award were named in October, led by former winner Didier Drogba.
The others are his Chelsea team-mate, Michael Essien; Arsenal’s Togolese international, Emmanuel Adebayor; Egypt striker, Amr Zaki, who plays at Wigan Athletic, and Mohamed Aboutrika, who scored the winning goal for the Pharaohs in February’s MTN Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Cote d’Ivoire captain Drogba has already said he has no interest in the award after a controversial decision to strip him of last year’s accolade.
Drogba, the winner in 2006, had been expected to take it again in 2007 but it was given to Mali’s Frederic Kanoute instead when the Ivorian striker refused to travel to Togo for the award ceremony in January.
Drogba said he had been told by CAF officials that he would not get the award if he did not attend the gala. But it came just two days before Cote d’Ivoire’s quarter-final match in the Nations Cup tournament against Guinea.
"I have therefore decided not to be part of the vote for the next African Footballer of the Year award. I feel that the contest has lost its worth," he explained at the time.
This year’s finalists were chosen by a panel of members of CAF’s media and technical committee. The national team coaches of Africa’s 53 member countries now vote for the winner.