Napoli’s forward Victor Osimhen, has been given the African Men Player of the Year award. The award was dished out to the Nigerian International during the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards in Marrakesh, Morocco after an outstanding showing for both Napoli and the Nigerian National team.
Osimhen, who played a role in Napoli’s victory in the Italian League season emerged as the winner among tough competition, from Achraf Hakimi of Paris Saint Germain and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool.
While accepting the award, Osimhen expressed, “It’s a dream come true for me. I want to thank Nigerians for their support. I also want to thank Africa for the love. They’ve been encouraging me and defending me even at my weakest point,” he said after scoring 31 goals in all competitions for Napoli, as they secured the Serie A title with a 33-year drought.
The young Nigerian initially caught the eye of European scouts when he played at the 2015 under-17 World Cup in Chile, and after stints with Wolfsburg and Lille, he transferred to Napoli last summer for a reported fee of up to 70 million euros, and despite a series of setbacks that includes contracting Covid-19 and suffering a head injury, Osimhen’s mental strength and prolific scoring have quickly confirmed his status as one of the continent’s premier footballing prospects.
Napoli currently values Osimhen at around 200 million euros and he is clearly considered that important. His on-field play has helped lead him to be called “masked assassin” with a protective mask that he started wearing after getting injured.
While Osimhen’s on-field success can be cheered, his injury-induced absences have frustrated Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis. Still, he was named the African Player of the Year and it wasn’t for nothing.
Alongside Osimhen’s accolade, Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala claimed the African Women’s Player of the Year award to lift the prestigious individual trophy for a record-extending six times. The Ikorodu, Nigeria-born star had another sensational year for her club and national side, with her contribution to Barcelona and the Nigerian national team helping to further her status as an icon of the women’s game.
Morocco was also a big winner at the CAF ceremony, with Yassine Bounou being named Goalkeeper of the Year, Walid Regragui lifting the Coach of the Year, and their national side named National Team of the Year. The evening in Marrakesh provided the opportunity to pay tribute to the most outstanding African football talent from right across the continent.