On December 11 in Rabat, Morocco, Victor Osimhen will be crowned the best African player of 2023.
This will be the first time for a Nigerian player since the legendary Nwankwo Kanu scooped his second CAF Player of the Year gong.
The likes of Segun ‘Mathematical’ Odegbami and Muda Lawal were snubbed by the Francophone in the 80s, but in the 90s Rashidi Yekini, Kanu, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba were crowned the best on the continent.
Winners of the CAF Player of the Year Award have often not played to script, but from many indications the Napoli striker will finally get his flowers after what he showed for both club and country.
The latest nomination for the FIFA Best Award would most certainly have improved his chances to be crowned the best footballer in Africa for 2023.
He was the only African on the 12-man short list for the FIFA top individual gong.
Osimhen has also been nominated for the first time for the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
The other African nominees for this award are Morocco World Cup goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, Egypt captain Mohamed Salah and goalkeeper Andre Onana from Cameroon.
The Super Eagles absence at last year’s World Cup will be a blemish on Osimhen’s claim to be Africa’s No 1 with Bounou and some of his Morocco teammates certainly scoring some points ahead of the Napoli striker after their heroics in Qatar.
But Osimhen has enhanced his reputation after he finished as top scorer in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers with 10 goals.
His closest rivals for the top scorer finished on five goals.
However, it is his heroics with his Italian club that have made the biggest contributions to his coronation.
He scored 26 goals to become the first African to be crowned Goal king of Serie A and in the process he outscored George Weah and Samuel Eto Fils, two legends who shone in Italy.
His goals installed Napoli as champions for the first time since 1990.
His goals also ensured his club reached the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League first the first time in their history.
Osimhen will also enjoy the wholehearted endorsement of at least one former African footballer of the Year – Emmanuel Adebayor.
“It’s very simple, we have seen the season and for me if you ask me who deserve the 2023 African Player of the Year award, its Osimhen, because of what he has done with Napoli, scoring in all the biggest games in Italy and also winning the Scudetto,” the former Togo captain commented.
“He has done quite well, who is there (to challenge Osimhen) Sadio Mane was injured and had a difficult season, Mohamed Salah had one of his worst seasons in his career, there’s the guy from Cameroon Zambo Anguissa, but the star player in Napoli is Osimhen.
“If you ask me to vote and I am given 10 votes I will give 12 to Osimhen for the 2023 African Player of the Year.”