How Osimhen broke 24-year jinx to become 2023 African Player of the Year

Victor Osimhen receiving CAF Player of the Year Award

Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen has been crowned the 2023 Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Player of the Year.

The 24-year-old was presented the award on Monday at the CAF awards ceremony in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Osimhen becomes the first Nigerian to win the coveted prize since Nwankwo Kanu won it in 1999.

The Nigerian beat Liverpool and Egypt’s Mohammed Salah and PSG and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi to the crown.

Osimhen had a remarkable 2022/2023 season, helping the Partonopei win the Serie A title for the first time after over three decades.

He scored 26 league goals and 31 in all competitions to win the Golden Boot and emerge the Serie A Player of the Season.

Osimhen also smashed several records, including the longstanding one by Liberia’s President George Weah, to become the African with the most goals in the Italian topflight.

At the award ceremony, Osimhen hailed the impact of Nigerian legend Emmanuel Amuneke, who coached him at the U-17 level, as well as fans from the country among others.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to God for everything. Special thanks go to Mr. Emmanuel Amunike; without him, I don’t think I would be standing in front of you guys holding one of the most prestigious awards in world football,” he told the gathering of the creme-de-la-creme of African football and beyond.

“It’s a dream come true for me. I want to thank everyone who has seen me through life’s journey. In achieving my dreams, in achieving my goals.

“I appreciate Nigerians for their support; I appreciate Africa for putting me on the map, for encouraging me, and for defending me regardless of my shortcomings.

“I also thank Emmanuel Adebayo for his encouragement. Solomon Kalu, I appreciate you. And every African legend that I have looked up to while growing up has inspired me. Didier Drogba, my role model, thank you so much. God bless you all,” he said.

At the 2023 Ballon d’Or, the Napoli forward was ranked eighth best player in the world ahead of the likes of Luka Modric, fellow African Mohammed Salah and Bernardo Silva of Manchester City.