These African Players Came Close to Winning the Capocannoniere

These African Players Came Close to Winning the Capocannoniere
Credit: Iconsport

It is no longer news that Victor Osimhen is the Capocannoniere. The striker ended the 2022/23 season as Italy’s top scorer playing for Napoli.

He also won the Scudetto, becoming the first player to finish a season as the top goal scorer in the Italian top flight and the league champion in a single season since Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who received a touching farewell from AC Milan over the weekend, achieved in 2008/09.

Osimhen is the first African in its history to win the award. Chuba Akpom is the only other Nigerian to finish as top scorer this season.

Africans who have come close to the Capocannoniere

The Italian Serie A is a popular league among African players but not many have found it easy to get high up on the scoring charts.

The Capocannoniere award has eluded all the AFCON greats who have plied their trade in Italy, until Victor Osimhen, who received a national honour in May 2023 for his exploits in Italy’s top flight. A number of African players have done double digits, however, with one Nigeria Super Eagles player even entering the top ten.

Here is a list of those players who did well on the scoring charts but failed to win the Capocannoniere.

Simy Nwankwo

Simy Nwankwo at Crotone
Credit: Iconsport

The Super Eagles striker was top five in the Capocannoniere race in the 2020/21 season but lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 29 to claim his only Serie A golden boot before he left Italy.

Simy Nwankwo's goals could not keep his side, Crotone, from getting relegated but he remains the only Nigerian to have reached the 20-goal mark in Serie A. He is also the second African to hit the figure before Osimhen's achievement in the just concluded 2022/23 season.

Samuel Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o at Inter Milan
Credit: Iconsport

The former Barcelona, Chelsea and Everton striker and the current president of the Cameroonian Football Association, Samuel Eto'o, is the first African to break into the 20-goal mark.

His goals would help Inter Milan claim the Serie A in the 2009/10 season as well as the European treble, but he would be beaten to the Capocannoniere award by Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale. It would take almost a decade before another African would break the 10-goal mark in the Serie A after Eto'o's feat.


Keita Balde

Senegal's Keita Balde
Credit: Iconsport

That African would be Keita Balde, who plays for the Teranga Lions of Senegal, the reigning AFCON title holders.

Balde played for Lazio, Inter Milan, Cagliari and Sampdoria. It was at Lazio that he ran riot in the Serie A, scoring 16 goals as a right winger in the 2016/17 season. Edin Dzeko won the top scorer award with 29, 13 more than Balde scored. He finished his Lazio career with 26 goals in 110 appearances and is now playing his trade in Russia with Spartak Moscow.

George Weah

George Weah at AC Milan
Credit: Iconsport

Africa's only Ballon d'Or winner scored 13 goals in the 1996/97 season while playing with AC Milan.

It was his performances two seasons prior that bagged him the award but his goals in the 96/96 campaign were not enough to grab the Capocannoniere for himself. Osimhen smashed his all-time record with his 26 goals in the 2022/23 season to take his total to 50 goals, becoming the highest goal-scoring African in the Serie A.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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