• Friday, February 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

CAF Awards 2023: Will Osimhen end Nigeria’s 23-year jinx?

Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen has made the final three-man shortlist for the 2023 CAF Men’s Player of the Year, scheduled to take place tonight in Marrakech, Morocco.

But the big question on the minds of millions of Nigerian football fans is will a Nigerian be crowned the CAF Men’s Player of the Year Award for the first time since 1999?

The last time a Nigerian won the prestigious CAF Men’s Player of the Year Award was Nwankwo Kanu.

Osimhen is the favourite to win his first CAF Player of the Year Award after his exploits with Napoli and the Super Eagles in the outgoing year.

He is one of the final three nominees for the top award, along with Ashraf Hakimi of Morocco and PSG and Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Liverpool.

The Super Eagles striker faces stiff competition from Morocco, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) defender Achraf Hakimi, Egypt, and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

The 24-year-old Napoli star was in impressive form for Parthenopeans last season, where he helped the team clinch the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years.

Read also Oshoala, Nnadozie make final 10-women shortlists for CAF awards 2023

His performances also earned him a nomination for the Ballon d’Or, where he finished 8th, becoming the first Nigerian to make the top 10 of the Ballon d’Or voting.

Osimhen bagged an incredible 31 goals in 39 matches across all competitions for Napoli last season and has continued his fantastic scoring record this campaign, as he has already netted six goals in 10 matches.

The former Lille forward has proven himself to be one of the best strikers in Europe and is favoured to clinch the CAF Award in December.

The prolific striker for Napoli created a new benchmark for Africans in Italy when he surpassed George Weah to become the highest-scoring player from the continent in Serie A history and surpassed Samuel Eto’o to become the most African goal-scorer in a single Italian season.

Considering what Osimhen achieved since November 2022, a true football lover will rank him ahead of other nominees for the CAF Player of the Year Award.

If Osimhen wins tonight, the 24-year-old prolific goal poacher will become the first Nigerian to do so since 1999 and end Nigeria’s long wait for the CAF Award.