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    Friday, December 8, 2023

    Osimhen, Oshoala Make Final Shortlist Of CAF Awards

    Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen has made the final shortlist for the 2023 CAF African Men’s Player of The Year Award.

    The Confederation of African Football, on its official X handle on Thursday, released the lists of the three final nominees in different categories for the prestigious awards.

    Osimhen will be vying with Morocco’s Paris Saint-Germain defender Achraf Hakimi and Egypt’s Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

    The 24-year-old has been in fine form for Napoli in the past 12 months guiding the Serie A club to their first league victory in 33 years and scoring a league-high 26 goals in 32 Serie A games last season, and 31 goals across all competitions.

    For his impressive performance in Italy, the Nigerian won the Serie A Best Striker, Paolo Rossi and Italian Footballers’ Association Player of The Year awards.

    He also received a nomination for the Ballon d’Or and is in the running for the Globe Soccer award.

    For the national team, Osimhen helped Nigeria qualify for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast and finished the qualification series as top scorer with 10 goals.

    On the other nominations, Hakimi helped Morocco become the first-ever African nation to reach the FIFA World Cup semi-finals and won the Ligue 1 title with PSG.

    Though on a collective level, it wasn’t the best period for Salah as neither Egypt nor his Premier League club could boast of any silverware. Still, on a personal best, the 31-year-old put up a fine performance, ending last campaign with 16 goals for the Reds, while also helping the Pharaohs book a place at next year’s AFCON.

    Remarkably absent from the list are Morocco duo Yassine Bounou and Youssef En-Nesyri and last year’s winner Sadio Mane, who all failed to secure a place in the final shortlist.

    Osimhen hopes to become the first Nigerian player to be named African Men’s Player of the Year in 24 years after Nwankwo Kanu claimed the coveted award in 1999.

    Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba are the only other Nigerians who were previously named the best players on the continent.

    Kanu, however, remains the only one to have won the award more than once (1996 and 1999).

    In the women’s category, Barcelona Femeni Asisat Oshoala battle South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana and Barbra Banda of Zambia, as goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie dropped out of the race for the Player of The Year of the women’s award.

    Oshoala helped Barcelona claim the UEFA Women’s Champions League, while also guiding the Catalans to a league victory as they went unbeaten the whole season and is the favourite to claim the award for a record sixth time.

    Nnadozie is still in contention for the women’s best goalkeeper award and will be vying with Morocco’s Khadija Er-Rmichi and South Africa’s Andile Olamini.

    Super Falcons midfielder Deborah Abiodun battles it out with Ghana’s Comfort Yeboah and Morocco’s Nesryne El Chad for the Best Young Player of The Year women’s award.

    For the National Team of The Year women’s award, Nigeria will slug it out with Morocco and South Africa.

    Falcons’ head coach Randy Waldrum did not make the final list for the Best Coach of the Year in women’s category.

    The Awards Gala will take place on Monday, December 11, at the Palais des Congrès, Movenpick, Marrakech, Morocco.

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