The prestigious CAF award has been programmed for December 11, 2023 in Morocco and the underlying debate among football fans has been, Sadio Mané’s successor as the African player of the year.
While Many argue Napoli’s trump card Victor Osihmen deserves this title for his outstanding performance in the just ended 2022/2023 season, others cite Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, Morocco’s Yassine Bounou, and Cameroon’s Andre Onana as worthy opponents.
2022/2023 was unarguably Victor Osihmen’s best season yet. The Nigerian forward led Napoli to the Scudetto for the first time in 33 years, scoring 26 league goals.
He was instrumental in The Little Donkeys reaching the quarter finals in the Champions League and, at international level, has netted five goals to see Nigeria through to Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
Another champion in contention for the African player of the year award is treble winner Riyadh Mahrez. Not a flashy season as he would have imagined, scoring five goals in 30 league appearances, however winning the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League with Manchester city is undeniably a great feat.
True, Algeria missed out on the FIFA World Cup final, but Riyadh Mahrez’s side is certain of another AFCON participation.
Talk of an eye – catching performance by a player in 2022, talk of World cup sensation Yassine Bounou. The 32-year-old helped his country reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup. Defeating the likes of Belgium, Portugal, Spain, just to name a few. His country man Achraf Hakimi with Paris saint Germain also causes a conversation among football fans and pundits alike.
Finally is Manchester United’s newly recruit Andre Onana. The Cameroonian shot stopper helped his then club Inter Milan reach the UEFA Champions League final. With 41 appearance for Simone Inzaghi’s side across the season, the 27-year-old was able to win Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, with Inter finishing third in Serie A behind Napoli and Lazio.
These great names have wowed the world’s best, created history for themselves, with only one to be crowned champion of Africa.
Who might that be, December 11 will deliver its verdict.
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