The Confederation of African Football last month announced that the prestigious African player of the year award ceremony will be held on 11 December 2023, in Morocco.
With last year’s winner, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah certainly out of the race, Oluyemi Ogunseyin ranks Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen and four other favourites that can win the 2023 CAF African Player of the year award…
Victor Osimhen (Nigeria and Napoli)
Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, is without doubt the number one favourite to win the CAF African Player of the year award following his exploits for both Napoli and Nigeria from September 2022 till June 2023.
Osimhen scored 26 goals and made four assists in 32 Serie A matches, propelling Napoli to their first Serie A title in 33-years and netted 31 times in 39 games in all competitions in the 2022/23 season.
He broke the scoring records of former AC Milan striker, George Weah and ex-Inter Milan forwards, Obafemi Martins and Samuel Eto’o in the Serie A, thereby becoming the first African to emerge top-scorer in a season in 125-years. He also bagged seven goals and two assists in the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Osimhen also on Saturday netted his 61st career goal for Napoli after opening the 2023-24 Serie A season with a brace to help his club come from behind to beat Frosinone 3-1.
The 24-year-old striker struck twice after Matteo Politano’s equaliser as Napoli came back from an early Frosinone penalty to start their title defence on the right foot at the Stadio Benito Stirpe.
Napoli did take the lead when Giovanni Di Lorenzo robbed Riccardo Marchizza down the right and pulled back for Osimhen’s rocket off the underside of the crossbar from 14 yards.
The Partenopei added a third with Di Lorenzo’s smart first touch, allowing Osimhen to spring the offside trap and beat the goalkeeper. He has now scored 61 goals in 102 games for Napoli.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria and Manchester City)
Algerian winger, Riyad Mahrez ranks as favourite to become the next CAF African Player of the year after winning the treble with former club, Manchester City last season.
Mahrez played his part as Man City won the Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League as he netted 15 goals and registered 13 assists in 47 games in all competitions.
Yassine Bounou (Morocco and Sevilla)
Yassine Bounou was highly instrumental to Morocco coming fourth at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with the goalkeeper making great saves during regulation, extra time and penalty shootouts.
Bounou won the Europa League with Sevilla after saving two spot kicks in a 4–1 win over Roma in the penalty shootout after the final had ended 1–1.
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain)
Achraf Hakimi is one of the favourites to win the CAF award after helping Morocco to become the first African country to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.
Hakimi also won the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain after tallying five goals and six assists in 39 appearances across all competitions.
Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco and Sevilla)
Youssef En-Nesyri is in the race for the award after playing a major role in Morocco finishing fourth at the 2022 World Cup.
En-Nesyri scored the only goal as Morocco defeated Portugal to reach the semi-finals. He bagged 18 goals and two assists in 48 games as Sevilla won the Europa League.