The Chairman of the FCT Football Association, Mouktar Mohammed, has thrown his weight behind Victor Osimhen, asserting that the Nigerian striker deserves to clinch the prestigious African Player of the Year award in 2023.
Mohammed's endorsement comes on the heels of Osimhen's stellar performance, marked by remarkable achievements and accolades in the 2022/2023 football season.
“I think he has done enough to win the Africa Player of the Year Award. He deserves it, especially after finishing eighth on the Ballon d’Or list,” he said.
He expressed his unwavering belief in Victor Osimhen's rightful claim to the African Player of the Year accolade.
“Osimhen was in fine form in the 2022/2023 season, as his 25 league goals helped Italian football royalty Napoli to their first Seria A title in 33 years,” he added.
“He pipped Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan and AC Milan’s Rafael Leao to clinch the Best Striker in Serie A gong.
“Osimhen scored five times in six games for Napoli as they reached the quarterfinal stages of the UEFA Champions League.”
Mohammed's endorsement is rooted in Osimhen's outstanding achievements during the 2022/2023 football season.
While the Nigerian's achievements make a compelling case, his journey to the African Player of the Year title is not without challenges.
“The World Cup tournament is seen as the biggest platform, and Nigeria couldn’t qualify for the showpiece in Qatar,” he continued.
“Osimhen’s greatest challenge may likely come from Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi who won a title with his club and went all the way to the World Cup semi-finals with his country, which is massive.
“Then there is also Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, who won the treble with Manchester City, including the English Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.
“You also have to consider the sharp regional divide and vested interest. The Anglophone and Francophone dichotomy has always been in existence, so that is another factor from the political angle.”
Nevertheless, Mouktar firmly believes that Osimhen‘s incredible achievements have solidified his claim, and he expressed his unwavering support for Osimhen's candidacy for the prestigious honor.
“But having said that, I still strongly believe that what Osimhen has achieved is incredible, and he deserves to win it,” he concluded.
Victor Osimhen: A strong contender for African Player of the Year
Victor Osimhen's meteoric rise in the world of football continues to capture the imagination of fans and pundits alike.
The Nigerian striker has left an indelible mark on the sport, not only through his prolific form at Napoli but also by achieving several remarkable milestones that position him as a prime contender for the African Player of the Year award.
The 24-year-old's goal-scoring prowess has been nothing short of extraordinary. His 26 goals in Italian Serie A serve as a testament to his exceptional abilities.
These goals played a pivotal role in helping Napoli clinch their first Serie A title in 33 years, a historic achievement that firmly established Osimhen as a football sensation.
Beyond his club performance, Osimhen's contribution to the African Cup of Nations qualifying series cannot be overlooked.
His tally of 10 goals during these qualifiers not only helped his nation's cause but also underlines his consistency in finding the back of the net when it matters most.
One of Osimhen's most notable accolades is his impressive showing in the Ballon d'Or rankings, powered by France Football.
In a historic moment for Nigerian football, Osimhen became the first Nigerian player in 24 years to finish in the top 10 of the male category.
His eighth-place finish not only marks a new record for the highest-ranked Nigerian player in Ballon d'Or history but also positions him as the top-ranked African player at the prestigious event.
While the Super Eagle's achievements are remarkable, the race for the African Player of the Year award is far from a one-horse race.
Moroccan contenders, who made history by reaching the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar 2022, pose a formidable challenge.
Players like goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, Hakimi, midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, winger Hakim Ziyech, and forward Youssef en Nesyri have also made strong cases for themselves.
Sadio Mane of Senegal and Mohamed Salah of Egypt, both past winners of the award, are also in contention.
However, it's worth noting that Osimhen's exceptional season and record-breaking achievements make him a strong favorite for the coveted title.
Full list of nominees
- Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria and Borussia Dortmund)
- Riyad Mahrez (Algeria and Al Ahli)
- Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso and Bayer Leverkusen)
- Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon and SSC Napoli)
- Vincent Aboubacar (Cameroon and Besiktas)
- Ibrahima Sangare (Cote d’Ivoire and Nottingham Forest)
- Seko Fofana (Cote d’Ivoire and Al Nassr)
- Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo and Olympique Marseille)
- Fiston Mayele (DR Congo and Pyramids)
- Mahmoud Abdel Moneim “Kahraba” (Egypt and Ahly)
- Mohamed Abdelmonem (Egypt and Al Ahly)
- Mohamed ElShenawy (Egypt and Al Ahly)
- Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool)
- Mohammed Kudus (Ghana and West Ham United)
- Thomas Partey (Ghana and Arsenal)
- Serhou Guirassy (Guinea and VfB Stuttgart)
- Yves Bissouma (Mali and Tottenham Hotspur)
- Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain)
- Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco and Olympique Marseille)
- Hakim Ziyech (Morocco and Galatasaray)
- Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco and Manchester United)
- Yahya Jabrane (Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club)
- Yassine Bounou (Morocco and Al Hilal)
- Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco and Sevilla)
- Peter Shalulile (Namibia and Mamelodi Sundowns)
- Victor Osimhen (Nigeria and SSC Napoli)
- Sadio Mane (Senegal and Al Nassr)
- Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal and Tottenham Hotspur)
- Percy Tau (South Africa and Al Ahly)
- Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Tunisia and Ferencvaros).
The anticipation for the African Player of the Year award ceremony is growing, and the central Moroccan city of Marrakech is set to host the event on Monday, December 11.
As football fans across the continent and beyond eagerly await the outcome, one thing is clear—Victor's incredible journey and remarkable achievements have firmly established him as a prime contender for this prestigious accolade.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago