Osimhen breaks 24-year Nigeria jinx, claims CAF African player of the year
Super Eagles and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as well as Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala won big at the 2023 CAF Awards, sweeping the men and women’s player of the year awards for Nigeria at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday.
It’s the first time one country will produce winners of both awards.
Osimhen was named the winner of the CAF Player of The Year Award, becoming the first Nigerian to win the award since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999, just as Oshoala claimed a record-extending sixth Women’s Player of The Year as the most successful women’s player in Africa.
Osimhen and Oshoala’s triumphs capped a brilliant night for Nigeria after Super Falcons goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie won the women’s Goalkeeper of The Year, while the Falcons were also named the Women’s Team of The Year.
The only upset for Nigeria on the night was Super Falcons Deborah Abiodun losing the Women’s Young Player of The Year award to Morocco and Lille defender Nesryne El Chad. Metz and Sengela’s Lamine Camara won the men’s category.
The honours were decided based on votes by media representatives, coaches and captains of national teams.
After reclaiming the CAF Women’s Champions League for their second title in the three years of the competition, Mamelodi Sundowns were named the Women’s Club of The Year, while Al Ahly also won the men’s category as a reward for winning a record-extending 11th CAF Champions League title in June.
The tension in the room was eased with a performance by Uganda sensational dancers, Ghetto Kids, but the pressure soon returned with the announcement of Nigeria as the Women’s National Team of The Year, ahead of WAFCON winners South Africa and Morocco. The award was not unconnected to the Super Falcons sensational run at the last FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The room became more lively as Morocco was also named the winners of the men’s National Team of The Year for being the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup at the last edition in Qatar 2022.
Al Ahly’s Mahmoud Abdelmenem’s goal against Al Hilal was voted by the fans as the Goal of The Year.
Super Falcons goalkeeping legend Precious Dede handed the Goalkeeper of The Year (Women) award to Falcons and Paris FC safe hands Chiamaka Nnadozie. She won ahead of Morocco’s Khadija Er-Rmichi and South Africa’s Andile Dlamini. Morocco’s Yassine Bounou won the men’s category for his exploits with Morocco at the last World Cup as well as his club Sevilla.
But surprisingly, Nnadozie was not among CAF’s Women’s XI as three Super Falcons players — Michelle Alozie, Osinachi Ohale and Asisat Oshoala — made the team. In the men’s team, Victor Osimehn, the only Nigerian, joined Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in a three-man attack.
South Africa’s women’s national team coach Desiree Ellis retained her title as the women’s Coach of The Year while Walid Regragui, who led Morocco to the semi-finals at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar won the men’s category.