Dortmund striker Pïerre-Emerick Aubameyang, the holder of the accolade, leads the crop which includes former winner Samuel Eto’o.
A notable absence is the four-time victor Yaya Touré. The Ivorian claimed the award between 2011 and 2014 before he was pipped to the 2015 title by Gabon’s Aubameyang.
Touré, 33, has been frozen out of the Manchester City starting line-up by the new City boss Pep Guardiola following a row with Touré’s agent.
Dimitri Seluk claimed in the media that Guardiola had humiliated Touré by leaving him out of City’s squad for Uefa Champions League group stage matches.
Guardiola responded by saying Touré would be omitted from all City squads until Seluk apolgised to the club for his comments.
Riyad Mahrez, the Algeria international, will be among the favourites for the bauble following his season inspiring rank outsiders Leicester City to the 2016 English Premier League title.
Mahrez's compatriot and Leicester City teammate Islam Slimani has also been nominated. Ahmed Musa, a recent recruit to Leicester City, is one of three Nigerians in the list.
The winner, decided by a vote of coaches or technical directors of all African teams, will be announced in January.