As the 2023 CAF Player of the Year award ceremony approaches, the spotlight is on Victor Osimhen, with the Super Eagles and Napoli star standing as the favourite for the coveted title.
Despite facing stiff competition from PSG’s Achraf Hakimi and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Osimhen’s stellar performances throughout the year make a compelling case for why he should be crowned the best player in Africa.
Here are eight reasons why he is the likely winner of Africa’s number-one individual award:
1. Napoli’s unlikely Serie A triumph
Osimhen played a pivotal role in Napoli’s historic Serie A title win, ending a 33-year drought.
Unlike Hakimi, who secured a predictable triumph with PSG in Ligue 1, Osimhen’s impact on Napoli’s unexpected triumph against Italian giants like Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan sets him apart.
2. Goal-scoring prowess
In the face of perennial favourites like Inter Milan and AC Milan, Napoli’s Scudetto quest demanded a consistent goal-scorer, and Osimhen rose to the occasion by netting 26 goals in 32 games.
His ability to score crucial goals underscores his importance to Napoli.
To critics who faulted him for not scoring against the big teams, Osimhen showed them the middle finger as he scored stunning winners against AS Roma and Fiorentina, found the net versus Atalanta and scored twice against Juventus.
3. Champions League milestone
Osimhen not only propelled Napoli out of the Champions League group stage but also led them to a historic quarterfinal appearance.
The Nigerian forward fired home five goals in six games to lift the Neapolitans to unprecedented heights in Europe’s premier competition.
This achievement, unmatched even in the days of Diego Maradona, highlights Osimhen’s impact on the European stage.
4. Among the global elite
Recognized as one of the world’s top five strikers, Osimhen’s estimated value of 120 million euros makes him the most valuable player in Italy.
This surpasses the worth of any Nigerian, African, or Napoli player, putting him in an elite category alongside Mbappe, Kane, and Haaland.
5. Serie A goal-scoring record
Osimhen etched his name in Serie A history by becoming the highest-scoring African player in the league, surpassing legends like Samuel Eto’o and George Weah.
This remarkable feat solidifies his position as a prolific goal-scorer.
6. Awards galore in 2023
Osimhen has already clinched numerous accolades in 2023, including Serie A Best Striker, Capocannoniere, and Serie A Goal of the Month in January.
He was named in the Serie A Team of the Season, and was the recipient of Ghana Football Awards’ Best African International, Serie A Footballer of the Year, and Serie A Team of the Year awards.
These awards reflect his consistent excellence throughout the year.
7. Excellence on African soil
Osimhen’s brilliance extends beyond European competition, as he excelled for Nigeria, finishing as the continent’s top goal-scorer in the qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Napoli man netted ten goals in all, five more than his closest challenger Sadio Mane and eight more than Salah.
His brilliance also earned him recognition with the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria’s highest honors.
8. Ballon d’Or recognition
In a historic moment, Osimhen became the first Nigerian to secure a top-ten ranking in the Ballon d’Or, finishing at number 8.
This accomplishment outshone Salah (11th) and Hakimi (outside the top 30), underscoring Osimhen’s global recognition and influence.
In summary, Victor Osimhen’s remarkable achievements in 2023 make a compelling case for him to be crowned the 2023 CAF Player of the Year.
From leading Napoli to Serie A glory to making history in the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, Osimhen’s impact transcends borders, solidifying his claim as the deserving recipient of this prestigious award.