One of the candidates for the CAF Men’s Player of the Year award in 2023 is Nigerian attacker Victor Osimhen.

There are a total of 30 candidates for the African Footballer of the Year award, and Osimhen is one of them. Other notable candidates for the award besides the Napoli striker are Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, Riyad Mahrez of Al Ahli, Sadio Mane of Al-Nassr, Yassine Bounou of Al Hilal, and Achraf Hakimi of Paris Saint-Germain.

Napoli won the Serie A championship for the first time in 33 years thanks in large part to Osimhen’s 26 goals scored in 32 games. In addition to scoring five goals in six UEFA Champions League matches for Napoli, he won the Golden Boot as Serie A’s top scorer.

The 24-year-old was injured before the previous AFCON, which was hosted by Cameroon. After losing to West African opponent Ghana in the qualification round, Nigeria did not make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which was won by Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Notably, Osimhen achieved the 8th spot in the final Ballon d’Or top 30 rankings for this year.

The former Lille forward has heavy competition from the likes of Mahrez, Mane, Bounou, Hakimi, and Salah for the CAF award. Before joining Al Ahli this summer, Mahrez won the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League while playing for Manchester City. Mane, on the other hand, didn’t play in the World Cup but nonetheless led Senegal to victory at the last AFCON, held in Cameroon, and helped Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga.

In a similar vein, Bounou led Morocco to the World Cup semi-finals with his stellar play in Qatar. Before joining Saudi Arabian powerhouse Al Hilal in the summer, he won the UEFA Europa League with Sevilla. Bounou finished the year ranked 13th in the final Ballon d’Or top 30.

Hakimi led Morocco to the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finals, when they were defeated by eventual champions Brazil.

Salah had a decent 2022-23 campaign, leading Liverpool to qualify for the Europa League after finishing outside the Premier League top four. Salah placed 11th in the final Ballon d’Or top 30 rating for this year.

Osimhen, according to MISMOB, hopes to make history by becoming the first Nigerian to win the CAF award since Arsenal icon Nwankwo Kanu did so in 1999.

Former internationals John Obi Mikel (who finished in second place) and Vincent Enyeama (who finished in third place) both came close to winning the African Footballer of the Year title in 2013 and 2014, but former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure ultimately prevailed.

On December 11 in Marrakech, Morocco, the African Footballer of the Year for 2023 will be announced.

Osimhen has already shown confidence in his possibilities of being voted Africa’s greatest player for 2023.

Osimhen recently stated, “[Winning the CAF African Footballer of the Year award] would mean a lot, a whole lot to me.”

“You know, I witnessed the winner [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] come up to the platform to receive [CAF African Footballer of the Year award] in 2015, when I won the [CAF] Youth Player of Year [award].

‘Since then, for me, it has become a dream to aspire to go there and achieve something as important as that,’ he said.

Osimhen would make history as the first Nigerian to win African Footballer of the Year since 1999, but the MISMOB notes that he faces long odds of doing so.

Stanley Smart, a sports commentator, told MISMOB on Monday that “it would not be easy for Osimhen to win the CAF African footballer of the year award this year because of some strong contenders like Bounou, Mane, Mahrez, and even Hakimi.”

First and foremost, an injury he suffered before the AFCON in Cameroon forced him to miss the tournament. Since the Super Eagles didn’t qualify for the World Cup, he also missed it in Qatar.

However, after helping Napoli to the Scudetto, he was recognized as the league’s top scorer. He also had a strong Champions League performance and was a Ballon d’Or finalist.

In response to a follow-up question about whether or not Osimhen deserved to win the CAF award this year, Smart clarified, “I am not suggesting that Osimhen doesn’t deserve to win the prize.

But if you consider the other guys I listed, they too had an outstanding [2022/23] campaign. Just like Osimhen, they are all deserving of the honor.

Consider Bounou; it was under his leadership that Morocco advanced to the World Cup semi-finals. He was so good that Sevilla won the Europa League by avoiding elimination on two separate occasions thanks to his penalty saves.

He also took part in the most recent AFCON. My one qualm with Bounou is that he plays goalie. It has been a long time since a goalie has been named Africa’s best footballer. I know Enyeama finished in third position behind Toure in 2014. Last year, Mane also finished ahead of former Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy to win the award, with Salah in second.

One other option worth mentioning is mane. He was injured before the World Cup and was unable to play for Bayern Munich, with whom he won the AFCON and the Bundesliga. He did not make the cut for the top 20 players to receive the Ballon d’Or.

Mahrez, like Mane, was overlooked for this year’s Ballon d’Or. But last season, he led Manchester City to a treble of titles: the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. He also competed in the most recent AFCON, but unfortunately his country did not advance to the World Cup.

Despite these arguments, “the winner will be determined by the highest votes” in the end.

Smart was asked to rank his top five candidates for the prize, and he said, “Mahrez, Bounou, Hakimi, Mane, and Osimhen.”

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