Osimhen makes Nigerian history with Ballon d’Or 2023 nomination

Osimhen makes Nigerian history with Ballon d’Or 2023 nomination
Credit: Icon Sport

Victor Osimhen made the nomination into the top 30 players contesting for the Ballon d’Or, 2023. The Napoli striker is getting just recognition for his efforts last season.

Victor Osimhen has come a long way to becoming an idol at Napoli. He enjoys respect for his abilities on the pitch and his achievements.

From his lowly beginning at Ultimate Strikers Academy to leading Napoli to a first Scudetto win since Diego Maradona achieved the feat, Osimhen is sitting on top of the world.

Perhaps not on top of the world, but close. Osimhen has become a conqueror, but there are still many mountains to climb, and the 24-year-old does not fear to take them on.

With the latest Ballon d'Or nomination, Osimhen joins the league of illustrious Nigerians to have received a nomination.

The last Nigerian to receive a Ballon d'Or nomination was Nwankwo Kanu in 1999. It was the second for the former Ajax forward, with a best finish of 13th – the highest by any Nigerian.

Other players in this illustrious league include Daniel Amokachi, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Finidi Geroge and Victor Ikpeba.

So, how far can Osimhen go in the 2023 contest?

Why Osimhen was nominated for Ballon d'Or 2023?

Victor Osimhen tries to control the ball
Credit: Icon Sport

The time has come to address the elephant in the room. Why was Osimhen nominated for this award? Did he conquer the world?

Not entirely so, but like the movie 300, he shocked the world. The young Nigerian from Olusosun dared to dream and took the world by storm.

Napoli last won the league in 1990 (33 years ago). It was unlikely for this modest side to upset the likes of Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus, but they had one thing these teams didn't have.

They had Osimhen, and he made all the difference. He also led Napoli to a UEFA Champions League quarter-final finish, where they narrowly lost to AC Milan.

It was the first time the Partenopei was reaching that stage of the competition. Before this massive Osimhen-led achievement, their best finish was in the round of 16 in 2012, 2017 and 2020.

If Osimhen does not win the award, he deserves to finish higher than Nwankwo Kanu did. He should be in the top ten.

2023 individual awards

Serie A Best Striker 2022–23
Capocannoniere 2022–23
Serie A Goal of the Month January 2023
Serie A Player of the Month January 2023
Serie A Team of the Season 2022–23
Ghana Football Awards Best African International 2023

Asisat Oshoala makes the list for Women’s Ballon d’Or 2023

Asisat Oshoala kissing the UCL trophy
Credit: Icon Sport

They say what a man can do, a woman can do, perhaps even better, and Nigerian women are proving it every day.

While the Nigerian sports media are gushing over the nomination of Victor Osimhen, it is easy to let Asisat Oshoala fly under the radar.

The Super Falcons and Barcelona Femeni star is shining brightly, and for the second time in her career, she has received a nomination into the top 30 Ballon d’Or contenders.

Oshoala had a fantastic season, as she was part of the Barcelona Femeni side to win the Spanish Primera División title. She also led her all-conquering side to win the UEFA Women's Champions League and Supercopa de España Femenina.

On the international scene, Oshoala scored a World Cup goal as the Super Falcons crashed out in the round of 16 without losing a game in regulation time.

The 28-year-old striker deserves all the accolades for a fantastic season.

2023 individual awards

Primera División 2022–23
UEFA Women's Champions League 2022–23
Supercopa de España Femenina 2022–23

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.