The African continent will be represented at the Ballon D’or awards this year by Cameroon’s Andre Onana(goalkeeper), Morocco’s Yassine Bounou(goalkeeper), Egypt’s Mohammed Salah and Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen, Assisat Oshoala.
These are the five African players nominated for the world’s most prestigious awards; two in the Yachine Trophy-goalkeeping category. While Salah and Osimhen will compete alongside other big names in the men’s category for player of the year.
27-year-old Andre Onana emerge best keeper of the UEFA champions league last season at Inter of Milan and equally played a great role in the club reaching the final of the competition but emerged runners-up.
The Manchester United keeper becomes the fourth Cameroonian player to be nominated for this award after Patrick Mboma, Jeremi Njitap and Samuel Eto’o who last featured in 2011. 12-years later, he gets rewarded for an excellent season at Inter of Milan.
The former Ajax keeper considered one of the world’s best today, will compete in this category alongside Yassine Bounou who helped Morocco reach the semi finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and won the UEFA Europa League with Sevilla in 2020 and 2023.
His expertise during the penalty shootouts against Spain with Morocco in the round of 16 of the World Cup (0-0, 3- 0) and against AS Roma with Sevilla FC in the final of the Europa League (1-1, 4-1) contributed to earning him a place in the lists of nominees.
Bounou is a strong competitor in this category looking at how far he went with the national team during the World Cup and stats at Sevilla last season before moving to Al Hilal this year, though may be insufficient to match that of Andre who outsmarted the likes of Liverpool’s Allison, Man city’s Ederson and Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois who is the current holder of this title.
Nigerian internationals Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala have been nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards in the male and female categories respectively, with Oshoala being the only African Female player to be nominated.
This historic feat makes Nigeria the only African country to have nominees in both categories for this award same year, with Osimhen being the first Nigerian to be nominated for this awards since Kanu Nwankwo was in 1999
The 24-year old super eagles and Napoli striker,has been one of Serie A’s very best and top scorer of this competition last season with 26 goals scored, breaking George Weah’s record.
Osimhen scored five goals in the UEFA Champions League and seven goals in the Africa Cup of Nations(AFCON) qualifiers for the Super Eagles and equally helped Napoli clinch the Italian Scudetto. He’s been one of Africa’s most Valuable players in recent times.
Oshoala’s contributions at Barcelona and the Super Falcons team earned her the recognition to this prestigious awards.
The holder of the African women’s player of the year awards, finished top scorer of the 2021-22 Spanish Liga with 20 goals. Last football season, she netted 21 goals and three assists in the league and five in the women’s champions league, plus the the FIFA women’s World Cup where she helped Nigeria reach the round of 16.
Egypt’s national team captain and instrumental forward for Liverpool, Mo Salah, is also amongst the 30 nominees for this year’s awards.
This is his 5th nomination for the Ballon D’or awards and the only player amongst the five African nominees to feature on this the most number of times.
Salah scored 30 goals and 16 assists in 51 games played for Liverpool who had a fairly good 2022/23 football season. He already counts two goals in four games this season, making it an overall 139 premier league goals scored for Liverpool since he joined the club in 2018.
The Egyptian came sixth in 2018, fifth in 2019, seventh in 2021 and fifth in 2022 and is set to compete with the likes of Karim Benzema, Leonel Messi, Erling Haaland amongst others for a place in the top three this time around, as Sadio Mane who was the second world best player did not make the list of Nominees.
Only Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria will represent Africa during the 2023 Ballon D’or awards ceremony scheduled to take place on October 30.
_*Ballon d’Or nominees 2023*_
Andre Onana – Manchester United/Cameroon
Josko Gvardiol – Manchester City/Croatia
Karim Benzema – Al Ittihad
Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich/Germany
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool/Egypt
Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid/England
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal/England
Randal Kolo Muani – Paris Saint-Germain/France
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City/Belgium
Bernardo Silva – Manchester City/Portugal
Emiliano Martinez – Aston Villa/Argentina
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – Napoli/Georgia
Rúben Dias – Manchester City/Portugal
Nicolo Barella – Inter Milan/Italy
Erling Haaland – Manchester City/Norway
Yassine Bounou – Al Hilal/Morocco
Martin Odegaard – Arsenal/Norway
Julian Alvarez – Manchester City/Argentina
Ilkay Gundogan – Barcelona/Germany
Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid/Brazil
Lionel Messi – Inter Miami/Argentina
Rodri – Manchester City/Spain
Lautaro Martinez – Inter Milan/Argentina
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid/France
Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona/Poland
Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain/France
Kim Min-jae – Napoli/South Korea
Victor Osimhen – Napoli/Nigeria
Luka Modric – Real Madrid/Croatia
Harry Kane – Bayern Munich/England
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