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D-Day for Osimhen, Hakimi, Salah as CAF Awards hold today

All is now set for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to announce the next African Footballer of the Year in the male and female…

All is now set for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to announce the next African Footballer of the Year in the male and female category as leading football stakeholders in the continent converge on the city of Marrakech, in Morocco for the prestigious Gala and Awards later today.

Super Eagles and Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, will battle Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi for the 2023 CAF Men’s Player of the Year award.

Osimhen is hoping to become the first Nigerian since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 to win the award.

Other Super Eagles players, Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba are the only other Nigerians who had won the prestigious award.

But Nwankwo is the most successful of them all as he remains the only Nigerian to have won the award twice in 1996 and 1999.

Only recently in Milan, the 24-year-old Osimhen was named the Italian Footballers’ Association (AIC) Player of the Year for the 2022/23 Serie A season.

He won the Golden Boot award at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Nigeria won. He made his senior international debut in June 2017 and played at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He is currently the fourth all-time highest goal scorer of the Nigeria national team.

He was ranked number eighth in the 2023 Ballon d’Or award which was held in Paris, France and became the first Nigerian to make the top ten of the Ballon d’Or.

Salah has been a recipient of the award after winning it twice in 2017 and 2018 while Hakimi will become the first Moroccan to win the award after Mustapha Hadji in 1998.

Other Nigerians who made the final shortlist in their different categories include Asisat Oshoala, Deborah Abiodun and Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Oshoala is in the running to defend her Women’s Player of the Year award as she is in the three-player shortlist with Barbara Banda of Zambia and Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa.

Nnadozie is in contention for Goalkeeper of the Year while Abiodun made the final nominee for Women’s Young Player of the Year award.

Earlier CAF shortlisted Nigeria for the 2023 Women’s National Team of the Year alongside Morocco and South Africa.

The Awards Gala will take place this evening at the Palais des Congrès, Movenpick, Marrakech, Morocco.

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