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Osimhen presents CAF Footballer of the Year award to Napoli fans

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Victor Osimhen presenting CAF Footballer of the Year award to Napoli fans

Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen, who plays for Napoli in Italy has presented his CAF Men’s Player of the Year award to Napoli fans at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona Saturday night.

Osimhen was named African Footballer of the Year in a ceremony that took place in Marrakech, Morocco, Monday night, after scoring 26 Serie A goals to help Napoli win the Scudetto last season.

Osimhen became the first Nigerian to win the award since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 after finishing eighth in the Ballon d’Or rankings.

He also helped Nigeria qualify for the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Nigeria dominated the CAF 2023 Awards, winning six out of 15 categories with Asisat Oshoala winning the Women’s Player of the Year award for the sixth time, a record in the history of the award.

Chiamaka Nnadozie won the Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award, while the Super Falcons won the Women’s National Team of the Year award.

Desiree Ellis, a former Nigerian player, won the Women’s Coach of the Year award for leading South Africa to the 2023 African Women’s Cup of Nations title.

The CAF Awards are held annually by the Confederation of African Football to honor the best African footballers and teams.

Osimhen is the third youngest player to win the CAF Men’s Player of the Year award, after Samuel Eto’o and El Hadji Diouf, who both won it at the age of 21.

Asisat Oshoala is the only African player, male or female, to have won four UEFA Champions League titles. She plays for Barcelona in Spain and scored 28 goals in 32 games in the 2022/23 season.

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The CAF 2023 Awards were held in Marrakech, Morocco, for the first time since 2012. The ceremony was attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and CAF President Patrice Motsepe.

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.

Victor Osimhen

An elated Victor Osimhen celebrating a goal

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.

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Also, the Super Falcons were named the women national team of the Year.

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.’

Other awards won by various teams and players include:

  • 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
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