Nigerian football sensation, Victor Osimhen has had a truly exceptional year in 2023. His exceptional performance on the pitch and numerous achievements make a compelling case for him to be considered for the prestigious African Player of the Year award.
According to Punch, the Chairman of the FCT Football Association, Mouktar Mohammed, rightly points out that Osimhen's contributions to both African and world football rankings are deserving of recognition.
Osimhen's journey to the top began with his nomination for the CAF African Player of the Year 2023, a recognition of his outstanding skills and impact on the sport. This nomination alone signifies his place among the elite in African football.
One of the most remarkable highlights of Osimhen's year was his impressive eighth-place finish in the 2023 Men's Ballon d'Or rankings. This historic achievement made him the first Nigerian player in 24 years to be nominated and finish in the top 10 in the male category.
Osimhen's feat surpasses the likes of football legends Sunday Oliseh and Kanu Nwankwo, who were nominated but didn't make it to the top 20 in their Ballon d'Or campaigns.
Osimhen's remarkable year continued with his pivotal role in Napoli's triumphant Serie A campaign.
According to The nation, his 25 league goals played a significant part in securing Napoli's first Serie A title in 33 years. Additionally, he outshone competitors, including Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan and AC Milan's Rafael Leao, to claim the title of Best Striker in Serie A.
Osimhen's performance extended beyond domestic competition, with five goals in six games for Napoli as they reached the quarter final stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Another feather in Osimhen's cap was his contribution to the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles, securing their spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. His consistency and prowess in front of the goal were instrumental in this achievement, highlighting his significance on the international stage.
Notably, Osimhen's impressive goal-scoring record also made him the first African player to top the Serie A scorers' chart, surpassing the legendary George Weah's record for the highest number of goals scored by an African in the Italian league.
While Osimhen's achievements and contributions are undeniable, it's important to recognize that the CAF African Player of the Year award can be influenced by various factors. Emotions, regional biases, and vested interests have played a role in previous awards, making the outcome unpredictable. Moreover, the absence of the Nigerian national team from the 2022 FIFA World Cup may be a factor to consider in the final decision, as the World Cup is viewed as a significant platform for recognition.
Osimhen faces tough competition, particularly from players like Morocco's Achraf Hakimi, who achieved success with his club and reached the World Cup semi-finals with his country, and Algeria's Riyad Mahrez, who secured a treble with Manchester City. Regional divides, such as the Anglophone and Francophone dynamics, can also influence the award's outcome.
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