As the season draws to a close, football fans around the African continent eagerly await the prestigious CAF Awards, a celebration of excellence in African football. One of the most highly anticipated categories is the coveted Player of the Year award, which honors the outstanding achievements of the continent's most exceptional footballers.
With the 2023 edition just around the corner, speculation and debate are rife as experts and enthusiasts alike ponder who will be crowned the African Player of the Year 2023.
The CAF Awards, organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), have become a symbol of recognition for the immense talent and contributions of African players. As we gear up for another thrilling edition, let's take a closer look at some of the top contenders for the Player of the Year accolade in 2023.
African Player of the Year 2023 Top Candidates
Victor Osimhen (Nigeria)
In the thrilling 2022-23 season, Nigerian sensation Victor Osimhen left an indelible mark on Italian football with a series of remarkable achievements. As the first African player to claim the prestigious Golden Boot in Serie A, Osimhen's extraordinary goal-scoring prowess catapulted him to the top of the league's charts, solidifying his status as a formidable talent. Not only did he secure the title of Best Overall Striker, but Osimhen also etched his name in history by becoming the highest-scoring African player of all time in Serie A.
With a record-breaking 26 goals in a single season, he showcased his consistency and impact, a feat only matched by the iconic Zlatan Ibrahimovi as the only player to win the Serie A title and Golden Boot in the same season. These exceptional achievements make Osimhen a strong contender for the African Player of the Year award in 2023, highlighting his undeniable skill, remarkable performances, and significant contributions to his team's success.
Victor Osimhen is unstoppable right now 🔥
Incoming African Player of the Year? pic.twitter.com/kWfDwobjxk
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) June 18, 2023
Osimhen's phenomenal achievements in the 2022–23 season position him as one of the frontrunners for the highly coveted African Player of the Year accolade. From being the first African player to win the Golden Boot in Serie A to his record-breaking goal-scoring exploits, Osimhen has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with. His blistering speed, clinical finishing, and intelligent movement have made him a nightmare for defenders, earning him the title of Best Overall Striker.
Furthermore, his ability to secure both the Serie A title and Golden Boot in the same season, a feat only accomplished by Ibrahimovi, showcases his immense impact on his team's success. With these outstanding achievements, Osimhen's chances of winning the African Player of the Year award in 2023 are significantly bolstered, solidifying his place among Africa's footballing elite.
Yassine Bounou (Morocco)
Yassine Bounou, the talented Moroccan goalkeeper, stands as a strong contender for the African Player of the Year award in 2023. His exceptional performances throughout the 2022–23 season have showcased his immense skill, resilience, and instrumental role in his team's success.
Bounou's remarkable journey began at the World Cup, where he played a pivotal part in Morocco's historic campaign. Defying the odds, the African side became the first team from the continent to reach the semi-finals of the competition. Bounou's commanding presence between the goalposts and crucial saves contributed significantly to Morocco's impressive run, capturing the attention of football fans worldwide.
Yassine Bounou is one of the leading candidates to win the African Player of the Year award. (Diario AS)
The 32-year-old had an outstanding 2022-23 season, having success with both Sevilla and Morocco. pic.twitter.com/uVDYEIya9t
— Football España (@footballespana_) June 21, 2023
Furthermore, Bounou's impact extended beyond the international stage. He played a key role in Sevilla's triumphant Europa League campaign, where the Spanish club emerged as champions. In the crucial stages of the competition, Bounou's heroics were on full display, particularly in the final against Roma. His penalty shootout heroics, including saving a crucial spot-kick, proved to be the deciding factor in Sevilla's victory.
Bounou's contributions and achievements in both international and club competitions have undoubtedly positioned him as a strong contender for the African Player of the Year award. Notably, should he secure the honor, he would break a long-standing streak, as the award has not been won by a goalkeeper since 1991. This serves as a testament to Bounou's exceptional talent and the impact he has had on the game from his position.
With his commanding presence, match-winning performances, and remarkable achievements, Bounou has demonstrated his ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best players on the continent. His impact on the field, particularly as a goalkeeper, sets him apart as a unique candidate for the prestigious African Player of the Year award in 2023.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian maestro, has made history once again in the 2022/23 season as Manchester City secured the English Premier League (EPL) title. With this triumph, Mahrez became the African player with the most EPL titles, solidifying his status as one of Africa's finest talents. Having previously won the league with Leicester City in 2016, Mahrez's four EPL titles with Manchester City highlight his consistency, skill, and undeniable impact on the pitch. Furthermore, Mahrez's contributions were not limited to domestic success, as he played a vital role in Manchester City's European treble, securing the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the prestigious UEFA Champions League.
Treble completed 🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/2U5PB50Jdm
— Riyad Mahrez (@Mahrez22) June 11, 2023
With an impressive 38 appearances and 15 goals across all competitions in the 2022/23 campaign, Mahrez's exceptional performances have firmly positioned him as a strong contender for the African Player of the Year award in 2023. His ability to consistently deliver mesmerizing displays and contribute crucial goals and assists exemplify his importance to Manchester City's success.
Mahrez's remarkable achievements, both individually and as part of a collective unit, demonstrate his skill, winning mentality, and undeniable impact on the pitch. As such, he stands as a deserving candidate for the prestigious accolade, showcasing his status as one of Africa's finest footballers in the 2022/23 season.
Frequently Asked Questions About the CAF Player of the Year
What is the African Player of the Year award?
The African Player of the Year award is an annual accolade presented to the best male African football player. It is organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the game by African players.
How is the African Player of the Year award determined?
The African Player of the Year award is decided through a voting process. Initially, a list of nominees is compiled based on players' performances throughout the year. National team coaches and captains from CAF member associations, as well as a selected panel of African football experts and journalists, vote to determine the winner.
Who has won the most African Player of the Year awards?
Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Yaya Touré of Ivory Coast jointly hold the record for the most African Player of the Year awards, with four wins each.
Are there any other categories or awards given at the African Player of the Year ceremony?
Yes, in addition to the African Player of the Year awards, CAF also presents awards in other categories such as African Women's Player of the Year, African Youth Player of the Year, African Interclub Player of the Year, African Coach of the Year, and African National Team of the Year, among others.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago