No Nigerian has scooped the prestigious award since Nwankwo Kanu was named the continent’s best in 1999
Former Real Sociedad midfielder Mutiu Adepoju has backed Napoli’s Victor Osimhen to beat all other challengers to this year’s Africa Player of the Year award.
Regular suspects – Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané, and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez – start as frontrunners for the honours.
The trio has shared the top spots among themselves since 2016, and it will take something, someone special, to break their monopoly, especially since they are still active at the top level.
But if anyone can usurp the status quo and power to a podium finish, it is the seemingly unstoppable Victor Osimhen.
The Napoli forward has been by a country mile the best striker in the Italian Serie A with 17 goals from 18 games, at least three more than his closest challenger.
The former Lille lad was named the best player in the league for January after scooping the best goal award in the same month.
Winning the CAF Africa Footballer of the Year award, however, goes beyond just scoring goals. And Osimhen may have to lift the league title with Napoli before he can be considered one of the favourites for the prestigious honour.
But former Nigerian international Mutiu Adepoju believes Osimhen is already deserving of the award ahead of others.
What has been said?
“Nobody is at the level he is now, and I believe he still has time to do more,” Adepoju told Brila FM.
“If now was the moment to pick the Africa best player, he would win it easily.”
Nigerian players – Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amunike, Victor Ikpeba, and Nwankwo Kanu – won five of the first eight Player of the Year awards CAF started issuing in 1992. But no Nigerian has claimed the honour since Kanu last won it in 1999.