Nigeria achieved a historic milestone in Marrakech, Morocco, on Monday night by clinching both the Men’s and Women’s CAF Player-of-the-Year Awards. This remarkable accomplishment sets a precedent, as no other nation has ever claimed both prestigious prizes in the same year. Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala made history as they were crowned the King and Queen of African football, marking a triumphant night for Nigerian talent.
Osimhen, the Super Eagles star, emerged victorious after a thrilling race against Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah. This award concluded a stellar year for the Super Eagles forward, breaking Nigeria’s 24-year wait for the men’s individual prize, with the last recipient being the legendary Kanu Nwankwo in 1999.
Osimhen’s remarkable 2022/2023 season paved the way for this historic moment. He played a crucial role in Napoli’s triumph in the Italian Serie A, their third Scudetto in 33 years. His 26 league goals not only made him the competition’s top scorer but also the first African to achieve this feat in Serie A history. His accomplishments were further recognized with the Italian league’s best striker prize and a place in the Serie A Team of the Year, solidifying his place in the hearts of Neapolitan fans.
Meanwhile, Asisat Oshoala, the Barcelona star, continued her reign as the queen of African women’s football. She claimed a record-extending sixth CAF Women’s Player of the Year award, adding another chapter to her illustrious career. Oshoala, who previously won the award in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2022, faced stiff competition from South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana and Zambia’s Barbara Banda. However, her achievements, including leading Barcelona to the Champions League final and securing the Pichichi Award for the league’s top scorer, solidified her position as the continent’s best female footballer.
The celebration continued with the Super Falcons being honored as the continent’s best national women’s team for the year.
Chiamaka Nnadozie, the Super Falcons’ goalkeeper, secured the Goalkeeper of the Year award, while three Super Falcons players – Michelle Alozie, Ohale Osinachi, and Oshoala – were included in the prestigious Women’s Africa XI team.
Morocco also had a notable night, securing victories in five categories, including the national team of the year for men, following their unforgettable performance at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.