Double Honors for Nigeria as Victor Osimhen, Asisat Oshoala Clinch Awards

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Nigerian’s football history brims with triumphs and outstanding talents as talented Victor Osimhen and exceptional Asisat Oshoala bags prestigious awards at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards ceremony in Marrakesh.

Osimhen’s Triumph

At the awards ceremony held in Marrakesh, Morocco on Monday, Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen was crowned the 2023 CAF Player of The Year Award, becoming the first Nigerian to win the award since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 breaking a 24-year jinx.

The Nigerian footballer who plays as a striker for the Serie A club Napoli beat Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi to the prestigious award. The 24-year-old was tipped to pick up the prestigious CAF award for the first time in his career after a stellar 2022-23 season.

In 32 games, he scored 26 goals, including the game-winning goal that gave Napoli their first Serie A championship in 33 years and sealed the Scudetto in May.

After an incredible season, the former striker for Wolfsburg and Lille was also named the Italian Footballers’ Association Player of the Year earlier this month.

Osimhen, born in Lagos, helped his nation qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) by scoring five goals in four games.

With an eighth-place result, he also became the first Nigerian to place in the top 10 of the Ballon d’Or poll, and he was inducted into his native country’s Federal Republic as a Member.

 

Oshoala’s Victory

The victory didn’t end with Victor, Nigeria also enjoyed double success with Asisat Oshoala keeping the title as the Women’s Player of the Year, marking the sixth consecutive victory of the Barcelona player.

Oshoala, a professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish Liga F club Barcelona and the Nigeria women’s national team made it an unforgettable night for Nigeria, winning the title of Women’s Player of the Year for a record-extending sixth time. 

Oshoala, who participated in the World Cup this year in Australia and New Zealand, is holding onto the trophy from the previous year. She defeated rivals Thembi Kgatlana of Racing Louisville in South Africa and Barbra Banda of Shanghai Sengli in Zambia to win the trophy.

A panel made up of African media professionals, head coaches, and captains, in addition to members of the Caf technical committee, selects the winners. Clubs participating in the continental events organized by CAF have an additional voice.

Congratulations has been the order of the day for both footballers from thrilled Nigerians. Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu in his congratulatory message said; 

“I am profoundly delighted to congratulate our own Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala for bringing football glory to our dear country, Nigeria.  Super Eagles of Nigeria forward, Victor Osimhen, has been crowned the CAF Best Footballer of the Year 2023 while Asisat Oshoala, for the record 6th time, clinched the CAF’s African Best Women’s Player of the Year 2023.  Indeed, the icing on the cake is the fact that for the very first time, these two prestigious football titles are won by Nigerians”.

 

World Cup Recognition

Desiree Ellis, a South African, won her fourth Coach of the Year title after leading Banyana Banyana to their inaugural World Cup.

The men’s award went to Morocco’s Walid Regragui on a great night for the Atlas Lions, named the national men’s team of the year.

Their heroics at Qatar 2022 – where they became the first African team to reach a World Cup semi-final – also helped Yassine Bounou win the men’s goalkeeper of the year prize.

The Super Falcons of Nigeria won the Women’s National Team of the Year with Chiamaka Nnandozie of Paris FC picking up the Women’s Goalkeeper Award.

After winning the African Women’s Champions League for a second time, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa were awarded the women’s club of the year.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly, who won a record 11th Champions League title in 2023, won the men’s club of the year award.

The CAF also disclosed who Africa’s players voted into the men’s and women’s Best XI line-ups during the awards ceremony. The Inaugural Special Achievement Award was bagged by Macky Sall, the President of Senegal.

 

2023 CAF Awards Winners

Player of the Year (men): Victor Osimhen (Napoli & Nigeria)

Player of the Year (women): Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona & Nigeria)

Coach of the Year (men): Walid Regragui (Morocco)

Coach of the Year (women): Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

National Team of the Year (men): Morocco

National Team of the Year (women): Nigeria

Goalkeeper of the Year (men): Yassine Bounou (Al Hilal & Morocco)

Goalkeeper of the Year (women): Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC & Nigeria)

Young Player of the Year (women): Nesryne El Chad (Lille & Morocco)

Young Player of the Year (men): Lamine Camara (Metz & Senegal)

Club of the Year (women): Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)

Club of the Year (men): Al Ahly (Egypt)

Interclub Player of the Year (women): Fatima Tagnaout (AS FAR & Morocco)

Interclub Player of the Year (men): Percy Tau (Al Ahly & South Africa)

 

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