Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has won the 2023 African Footballer of the Year Award (CAF Awards 2023), seeing off competition from Liverpool and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, as well as Paris St-Germain and Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi.
The Napoli of Italy star, who was also the highest-ranked African player in the 2023 Men’s Ballon d’Or vote after finishing eighth, was announced the 2023 CAF Men winner at the annual awards ceremony held in Morocco on Monday night.
The 24-year-old scored 26 goals last season to help Napoli win their first Serie A title in 33 years. He also helped Nigeria qualify for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast and finished the qualification series as the top scorer with 10 goals.
Osimhen became the first Nigerian footballer since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 to win the award. The closest other member of the Super Eagles to the award was former Chelsea midfielder John Obi-Mikel, who took second place in 2013.
In the female category, Asisat Oshoala of the Nigerian Super Falcons is the 2023 Women’s Player of the Year. Oshoala the current holder of the trophy, has now won the award for a record sixth time.
In addition, the Super Falcons of Nigeria also won the CAF Women’s Team of the Year for their exploits at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where they lost in the quarterfinals on penalties to their English counterpart.
Similarly, the Moroccan national team won Team of the Year. It is recalled that the Atlas Lions surprised the bookmakers and advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar 2022, losing on penalties to Croatia.
The coach of the Morocco men, Walid Regragui won the coach of the year in the male category while Desiree Ellis of the South African Bayana Bayana took home the award for the female category.
Other award winners at the CAF Awards 2023 included Yassine Bounou of Morocco, Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year; Chiamaka Nnadozie of Nigeria, Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year; and AlAhly of Egypt, 2023 Club of the Year.