Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen has broken a 24-year-old jinx to win the 2023 Men’s Player of the Year.
Osimhen triumphed over Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah to win the coveted trophy during the CAF 2023 Awards held in Marrakech, Morocco, on Monday.
Osimhen was only months old when Super Eagles legend Nwankwo Kanu was named CAF Player of the Year in 1999, and since then, no Nigerian footballer has ever won the award.
He has now become the first player from the West African nation to win the award in 24 years and only the fifth in the country’s football history.
Osimhen scored 31 goals in 39 games across all competitions for Napoli, inspiring the Italian club to their first Serie A title in 33 years.
The 24-year-old has since won the Serie A Striker of the Season award and also recently won the AIC Player of the Year award voted for by Italian footballers while finishing eighth on the 2023 Ballon d’Or rankings.
In the same vein, Super Falcons forward, Asisat Oshoala was named the 2023 Women player of the year to become the first woman in history to win the award six times. She had previously won it in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022.
In other categories, Chiamaka Nnadozie emerged the woman goalkeeper of the Year but surprisingly wasn’t named in the CAF FIFpro team which had Michelle Aloize, Osinachi Ohale and Asisat Oshoala listed.
The award winners with CAF President Patrice Motsepe (middle)
Also, the Super Falcons were named the women national team of the Year.
Meanwhile, Osimhen has been nominated for the 2023 IFFHS Men’s World Best Player award.
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) nominated him along with 24 other players as a recognition of his exploits in the 2022/23 season.
Osimhen would have to compete with notable names such as Lionel Messi (the current holder of the award), Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Antoine Griezman and Bukayo Saka amongst others for the 2023 IFFHS Men’s World Best Player award.
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Speaking after receiving his award, Osimhen said he was elated.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to God for everything. Special thanks go to Mr. Emmanuel Amunike; without him, I don’t think I would be standing in front of you guys holding one of the most prestigious awards in world football,” he said.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I want to thank everyone who has seen me through life’s journey. In achieving my dreams, in achieving my goals. I appreciate Nigerians for their support; I appreciate Africa for putting me on the map, for encouraging me, and for defending me regardless of my shortcomings.
“I also thank Emmanuel Adebayo for his encouragement. Solomon Kalu, I appreciate you. And every African legend that I have looked up to while growing up has inspired me. Didier Drogba, my role model, thank you so much. God bless you all.”
About the event:
The CAF Awards is an awards evening held to honour the best African association football players. It is conferred by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
CAF is the governing body of African football and was founded in 1957. The founding members are Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and South Africa. With a membership of 54 Member Associations, the secretariat is based in Egypt.
CAF Team of the Year (WOMEN) – Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies
CAF Team of the Year (MEN) – Al Ahly
Interclub Player of the Year (MEN) – Percy Tau (South Africa/Al Ahly)
Interclub Player of the Year (WOMEN) – Fatima Tagnaout (Morocco/ASFAR)
Young Player of the Year (WOMEN) – Nesryne El Chad (Morocco/LOSC Lille)
Young Player of the Year (MEN) – Lamine Camara (Senegal/FC Metz)
CAF National Team of the Year (WOMEN) – Nigeria
CAF National Team of the Year (MEN) – Morocco
CAF Goal of the Year – Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ahly vs Al Hilal)
Goalkeeper of the Year (WOMEN) – Chiamaka Nnadozie (FC Paris)
Goalkeeper of the Year (MEN) – Yassine Bounou (Morocco/Al Hilal Saudi)
Coach of the Year (WOMEN) – Desiree Ellis
Coach of the Year (MEN) – Walid Regragui