The anticipation is building as the CAF Awards 2023 approaches, promising a grand celebration of African football talent at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday, 11 December.
The CAF Awards 2023 highlights the excellence and achievements of African footballers across various categories.
Historical context: From Golden Ball to CAF Awards 2023
The African Footballer of the Year award, initiated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1992, has become a symbol of recognition for the continent's best footballer each year.
However, the journey to this point includes an earlier edition, the African Footballer of the Year Golden Ball, presented by France Football magazine between 1970 and 1994.
The transition led to dual awards in 1993 and 1994 but eventually resulted in the discontinuation of the France Football election in 1995.
In 1991, Afrique Football magazine introduced its own award, which continued until 2003.
Diverse nationalities: Celebrating football excellence across Africa
The African Player of the Year award has been a testament to the rich and diverse tapestry of African football, with winners hailing from various nations across the continent.
Countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, and Ivory Coast have prominently featured on the honour roll, producing football legends who have left an indelible mark on the sport.
Notably, Cameroon stands out as a powerhouse, leading with an impressive 11 awards.
Notable achievements: From inception to CAF Awards 2023
Samuel Eto'o and Yaya Touré stand as the most decorated players in this category, each securing the award four times.
Didier Drogba, a two-time winner, holds the record for the most runner-up appearances (4), third-place finishes (3), and total top-three finishes (9).
Frédéric Kanouté, Riyad Mahrez, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stand out as the only European-born players to clinch the award.
Kanouté and Aubameyang, both initially part of France's U21 squad, went on to represent Mali and Gabon, respectively.
Nwankwo Kanu remains the sole Nigerian with more than one African Player of the Year Award.
Nigeria boasts a total of five victories in this category, showing their prestige.
Asisat Oshoala, a standout performer, holds the record for the most African Player of the Year awards in both the Women's and Men's categories.
Exploring the diverse CAF Awards categories
Beyond the African Footballer of the Year, the CAF Awards feature an array of categories recognizing excellence across various facets of the game.
- CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year
- African Inter-Club Player of the Year
- CAF Coach of the Year
- CAF Women's Coach of the Year
- African Inter-Club Team of the Year
- African National Team of the Year
- African Women's National Team of the Year
- CAF Legends award
- CAF Female Player of the Year
- African Goal of the Year, President of the Year
- Federation of the Year
- CAF Team of the Year
- CAF Goalkeeper of the Year
- African Champions League Best Player
- CAF Referee of the Year.
Anticipation builds: CAF Awards 2023 in focus
As the football world turns its gaze to Marrakech for the CAF Awards 2023, the stage is set for a night of celebration and recognition, honouring the outstanding contributions of African players and key figures in the sport.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago