Osimhen Named as Only African in FIFA The Best Award Shortlist

Duro Ikhazuagbe

The stocks of Nigeria and Napoli frontman, Victor Osimhen, have continued to rise following his nomination for the eighth edition of FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year award yesterday by the world football governing body.

The 24-year-old Super Eagles striker was named  in the 12-man shortlist for the award released by FIFA yesterday.

Osimhen who was just couple of days ago similarly named amongst the five players from the continent in the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious  Ballon d’Or award, is the only African in the running for the FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year.

The former Lille of France player has remained in terrific form since last season when he helped Napoli to their third Italian  Scudetto league title after 33 years. 

Osimhen’s exploits are not limited to Europe alone. 

He scored 10 goals for the Super Eagles as Nigeria qualified for the 2023 AFCON effortlessly. His hat-trick against Sao Tome and Principe last Sunday capped his brilliant run in the qualifiers and is likely to take the form to the 2026 World Cup qualifiers starting in November.

Expectedly, Osimhen is also primed to win the coveted CAF’s Player of the Year award when the ceremony holds later in the year in Morocco.

Also nominated in the FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year include; Maverick Argentine forward, Lionel Messi, who has turned around the fortunes of Inter Miami since arriving the MLS club side from PSG in France.

Amongst other front runners for the award are; Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Rodri, Julian Alvarez, Marcelo Brozovic, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Declan Rice and Bernardo Silva.

According to FIFA, the 12 nominees were selected by a panel of football experts who reviewed longer list compiled by the world soccer body.

“Voting is now open across the various categories, with the international jury being comprised of National Teams Captains and Coaches, journalists, and fans from all over the world,” concludes the statement from FIFA yesterday.

Interestingly, half of the candidates for the Men’s award were part of Manchester City FC’s treble-winning squad of last season, with their coach, Pep Guardiola also in the running for the Men’s Coach of the Year award.

Osimhen’s coach who has taken a break from football, Luciano Spalletti, Barcelona Coach, Xavi; Simone Inzaghi and Ange Postecoglou complete the list of five coaches to battle for the top honour.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player Nominees

*Julián Álvarez (Argentina); *Marcelo Brozović (Croatia); *Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium); *İlkay Gündoğan (Germany); *Erling Haaland (Norway); *Rodrigo (Rodri) Hernández Cascante (Spain); *Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Georgia); *Kylian Mbappé (France); *Lionel Messi (Argentina); *Victor Osimhen (Nigeria); *Declan Rice (England); *Bernardo Silva (Portugal).

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