Victor Osimhen: Next African Footballer of the Year?

Victor Osimhen: Next African Footballer of the Year?


With perennial winners of the CAF African Footballer of the Year Award- Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané of Senegal and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez not enjoying the best of the season; the trio having shared the top spots among themselves since 2016, Nigeria international and Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhem is set to break their monopoly. With the form of the Serie A top scorer, nobody would want to bet against him winning the CAF top prize, last won by a Nigerian in 1999

With no African Nations Cup or World Cup competitions, Victor Osimhen is even more favourable to emerge winner of the African Player of the Year in 2023.
In 1997, Victor Ikpeba, then at AS Monaco, emerged as the best Player in Africa having not featured in an African tournament.
The AFCON tournament that was set to for this year was postponed till 2024 and Ikpeba has advised the 24-year-old to keep his form at Napoli to stay ahead.
“Victor Osimhen has done well, he has been fantastic and he is on form. It’s not easy to score 20 goals in all competitions just in February which is a proof of how good he is.


“Time will tell, the only thing Victor Osimhen needs to do is to keep his head down, focusing on winning the Serie A, and emerging as top scorer.”
“The Nations Cup and the World Cup was last year so it shouldn’t factor in much, Osimhen has won individual awards already and he currently is the best African player.”


“Remember that there is no AFCON this year so it makes Osimhen have a strong case especially if Napoli wins the Serie A.
“In 1997 when I won (African POTY award), there was no AFCON so I was judged based on my performance at my club side.
“So, he just needs to remain focused and keep doing what he’s doing because he has a huge chance to win the award.”
The Nigeria international has recently been tagged as one of the best attackers in Africa after tallying 18 goals in 19 league matches for the Parthenopeans.
The Super Eagles striker has garnered attention recently for his performance, winning various accolades and tallying a sizable number of goals.


The 24-year-old has been compared with Drogba by former Chelsea boss, José Mourinho, who once managed his Ivorian Idol. After Napoli’s 2-1 triumph against The She-Wolf, the current AS Roma manager told Soccernet.ng that the Nigerian is on “the same level” as the Ivorian great.
However, this might be the consequence of Osimhen emulating his idol for years,
Osimhen confessed that he enjoys the way he plays and thinks he is the finest in a video posted on the club’s social media page.
“I watched Drogba a lot, how he played. I consider him one of the best attackers ever.” he said.


Former Real Sociedad midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju has backed Napoli’s Victor Osimhen to beat all other challengers to this year’s Africa Player of the Year award.
Regular suspects – Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané, and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez – start as frontrunners for the honours.
The trio have shared the top spots among themselves since 2016, and it will take something, someone special, to break their monopoly, especially since they are still active at the top level.


But if anyone can usurp the status quo and power to a podium finish, it is the seemingly unstoppable Victor Osimhen.
The Napoli forward has been by a country mile the best striker in the Italian Serie A with 18 goals from 19 games, at least three more than his closest rival.
The former Lille lad was named the best player in the league for January after scooping the best goal award in the same month.
Winning the CAF Africa Footballer of the Year award, however, goes beyond just scoring goals. And Osimhen may have to lift the league title with Napoli before he can be considered one of the favourites for the prestigious honour.


But former Nigerian international, Mutiu Adepoju believes Osimhen is already deserving of the award ahead of others.
“Nobody is at the level he is now, and I believe he still has time to do more,” Adepoju told Brila FM.
“If now was the moment to pick the Africa best player, he would win it easily.


No Nigerian has scooped the prestigious award since Nwankwo Kanu was named the continent’s best in 1999.
Nigerian players – Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amunike, Victor Ikpeba, and Nwankwo Kanu – won five of the first eight Player of the Year awards CAF started issuing in 1992. But no Nigerian has claimed the honour since Kanu last won it in 1999.
Osimhen’s excellent form in Italy also suggests that PSG’s Kylian Mbappé and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland are no longer the sole heirs to take over from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as perennial winners of the Ballon d’Or.


Messi and Ronaldo won 11 of the last 14 Ballon d’Or awards, but with age no longer on their sides, both superstars will likely not be in the running in a few years.
Frenchman Kylian Mbappe and Norwegian striker Erling Haaland are the two youngsters already considered world-class.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Barcelona’s Pedri may have recently been introduced into the conversation of future winners of the award.
But Osimhen’s remarkable exploits in the Italian top flight this term indicate that a new superstar has been lifted into that exalted class.
The Super Eagles forward is without equal at the top of Serie A’s goalscorer chart, with 18 goals in 19 appearances – the most he has ever managed in his professional career.


In netting his latest league strike in Napoli’s 2-0 win over Sassuolo at the weekend, Osimhen struck his 100th professional goal, which he achieved in 197 games.
Incredibly, that is faster than it took Lionel Messi (210 matches) and Cristiano Ronaldo (301 games) to reach their first century of goals.
Winning the Ballon d’Or and becoming its first Nigerian recipient, though, will require more than just scoring goals. It must also involve winning titles.
Fortunately for Osimhen, he is leading Napoli’s charge for a first Serie A title in over thirty years while the club is performing excellently in the UEFA Champions League, where they are one leg in the quarter final after defeating German side, Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of the round of 16.

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