Andre 'Dede' Ayew, Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita have been named on the final shortlist for the 2011 African Player of the Year award.
The announcement by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) means that last year's winner, Samuel Eto'o, misses out on this year's title.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Accra on Thursday.
He will be crowned after a vote by national team head coaches and technical directors from within Caf.
Ayew, Toure and Keita are the final contenders for the crown after Caf revealed that Eto'o and Senegal's Moussa Sow had failed to make the final shortlist.
Ayew, who plays for Marseille and Ghana, was named as the BBC African Player of the Year last week.
He helped his club to Cup success in France last season, has steered them into the knock-out phase of the European Champions League and was a key man for Ghana as the Black Stars qualified with some ease for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Yaya Toure has been central to the resurgence of Manchester City and is central to Ivory Coast's success as well - the Elephants qualified for the Nations Cup with a perfect record.
Keita has helped all-conquering Barcelona throughout another impressive 12 months and returned to the Mali side in time to help them squeeze through qualification for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon ahead of Cape Verde.
Eto'o has won four African Player of the Year awards but will not be adding to that total this year.
Caf will also reveal the winners of several other awards, including female player of the year, African-based player of the year and national team of the year.
The women's shortlist features Nompumelelo Nyandani of South Africa, Perpetua Nkwocha from Nigeria and Miriam Paixao Silva of Equatorial Guinea.
The winners will be unveiled at a ceremony on 22 December in the Ghanaian capital Accra.
Full list of Nominees:
African Player of the Year 2011: Andre Ayew (Marseille and Ghana), Seydou Keita (Barcelona and Mali), Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast)
African Player of the Year 2011 (Based in Africa): Oussama Darragi (Esperance and Tunisia), Zouhir Dhaouadi (Club Africain and Tunisia), Banana Yaya (Esperance and Cameroon)
National Team of the Year: Botswana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Tunisia
Women's National Team of the Year: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa
Club of the Year: Esperance (Tunisia), MAS (Morocco), Wydad Athletic (Morocco)
Most Promising Talent of the Year: Ahmed El Shenawi (El Masry and Egypt), Souleymane Coulibaly (Tottenham Hotspur and Ivory Coast), Ahmed Musa (VVV Venlo and Nigeria)
Coach of the Year: Harouna Doula (Niger), Nabil Maaloul (Esperance, Tunisia), Stanley Tshosane (Botswana)
Women's Footballer of the Year: Nompumelelo Nyandani (South Africa). Perpetua Nkwocha (Nigeria), Miriam Paixao Silva (Equatorial Guinea)
Referee of the Year: Alioum Neant (Cameroon), Noumandiez Doue (Ivory Coast), Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria)
Legend Award: Mustapha Hadji (Morocco), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)