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Victor Osimhen wins African Player of the Year ward

Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen has been crowned the 2023 African Footballer of the Year at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) awards ceremony in Marrakesh.

The Napoli player beat Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi to the prestigious award – the first time a Nigerian has picked up the title since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.

Nigeria enjoyed double success with Asisat Oshoala retaining the women’s award – the sixth time the Barcelona star has won the accolade.

The winners are voted for by a panel consisting of Caf’s technical committee plus African media professionals, head coaches and captains. Clubs involved in the group stages of Caf’s continental competitions also have a say.

Osimhen triumph

Napoli’s Osimhen, 24, was tipped to pick up the prestigious Caf award for the first time in his career after a stellar 2022-23 season.

He scored 26 times in 32 appearances, including the decisive goal that sealed the Scudetto in May and won Napoli their first Serie A title in 33 years.

The former Wolfsburg and Lille striker was also named the Italian Footballers’ Association Player of the Year earlier this month after an outstanding season.

Lagos-born Osimhen scored five goals in four Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification matches as his country reached next year’s finals.

He also became the first Nigerian to finish in the top 10 of the Ballon d’Or vote with an eighth-placed finish and was made a Member of the Federal Republic in his homeland.

Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala, 29, made it a night to remember for Nigeria, winning the Women’s Player of the Year title for a record-extending sixth time.

Oshoala – who went to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year – retains the trophy she won last year.

She beat off competition from South Africa and Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana and Zambia and Shanghai Sengli’s Barbra Banda.

World Cup recognition

South African Desiree Ellis picked up her fourth Caf Coach of the Year award after leading Banyana Banyana to their first World Cup.

The men’s award went to Morocco’s Walid Regragui on a great night for the Atlas Lions, who were named the National Men’s Team of the Year.

Their heroics at Qatar 2022 – where they became the first African team to reach a World Cup semi-final – also helped Yassine Bounou win the Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year prize.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons won the Women’s National Team of the Year with their Paris FC star Chiamaka Nnadozie picked up the women’s goalkeeper award.

Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa were named the Women’s Club of the Year after triumphing in the African Women’s Champions League for a second time.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly, who won a record 11th Champions League title in 2023, won the Men’s Club of the Year award.

On a glittering night in Marrakesh, Caf also revealed who Africa’s players voted into the men’s and women’s Best XI line-ups, and Senegal President Macky Sall picked up the special achievement award.

2023 Caf awards winners:

Player of the Year (men): Victor Osimhen (Napoli & Nigeria)

Player of the Year (women): Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona & Nigeria)

Coach of the Year (men): Walid Regragui (Morocco)

Coach of the Year (women): Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

National Team of the Year (men): Morocco

National Team of the Year (women): Nigeria

Goalkeeper of the Year (men): Yassine Bounou (Al Hilal & Morocco)

Goalkeeper of the Year (women): Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC & Nigeria)

Young Player of the Year (women): Nesryne El Chad (Lille & Morocco)

Young Player of the Year (men): Lamine Camara (Metz & Senegal)

Club of the Year (women): Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)

Club of the Year (men): Al Ahly (Egypt)

Interclub Player of the Year (women): Fatima Tagnaout (AS FAR & Morocco)

Interclub Player of the Year (men): Percy Tau (Al Ahly & South Africa)

Source: BBC

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