Osimhen, Mahrez Top List of Favourites to Succeed Mane As African Footballer of the Year

Osimhen, Mahrez Top List of Favourites to Succeed Mane As African Footballer of the Year

Elijah Odetokun
updated at August 9, 2023 at 10:38 AM
In this article:
Sadio Mané logo
S. Mané
Al Nassr FC logoFSenegal logo
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Riyad Mahrez logo
R. Mahrez
Al-Ahli SFC logoFAlgeria logo
Mohamed Salah logo
M. Salah
Liverpool logoFEgypt logo
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • Sadio Mane is the reigning African footballer of the year after enjoying a successful 2022
  • A difficult few months and missing the World Cup means he is unlikely to defend his title
  • Napoli star Victor Osimhen and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez are among the favourites

Sadio Mane's time as the reigning African Footballer of the Year is likely ending on December 11 when a new winner will be crowned in Morocco.

The Al-Nassr forward won the award for the second time last year off the back of winning the African Cup of Nations with Senegal and reaching three cup finals with Liverpool, including the UEFA Champions League final which the Reds lost to Real Madrid.

Sadio Mane, CAF, African best, Rabat, Morocco.
Sadio Mane is the reigning CAF African Footballer of the Year. Photo by Jalal Morchidi.
Source: Getty Images

However, his recent struggles with a loss of form and injury, leading to his departure from Bayern Munich are a single season, mean he is not expected to regain the title.

Sports Brief looks at six players who are favourites to succeed the 2022 Ballon d'Or runner-up as the 'king of African football'.

1. Victor Osimhen

The Nigerian striker helped Napoli to their first Italian Serie A title in 33 years and won the Capocannoniere award with 26 league goals. Osimhen was also influential in the Neapolitans reaching the Champions League quarter-final for the first time in history, as noted by Forbes. He is seen by many as the outright choice but things don't always work that way.

2. Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez won a historic treble with Manchester City last season but had limited game time, which has made many fans underrate his chances to win his second African best award, having previously won it in 2016. He had 28 goals contribution in 47 games for City last season. He currently plays for Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia.

3. Achraf Hakimi

Hakimi helped Morocco make history as the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-final. At club level, he won two trophies with Paris Saint-Germain and was named in Ligue 1 team of the year. He is currently under investigation for assault, which led to his separation from his wife, as reported by Al Jazeera.

4. Yassine Bono

Bono was part of the history-making Moroccan team, saving penalties against Spain in the round of 16 and making fantastic stops against Portugal in the quarter-final. He also helped Sevilla to a record-extending seventh Europa League crown, saving penalties in the shootout.

5. Andre Onana

He was another goalkeeper who stood out in the past year, helping Inter Milan win the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup. He was the best goalkeeper in the Champions League as the Milanese reached the final, losing to Manchester City. His heroics earned him a move to Manchester United recently.

6. Mohamed Salah

It is easy to say Liverpool went trophyless last season and struggled to make the Europa League spot next season, but Salah stood out as a big fish in a small pond. He scored 30 goals and 16 assists in all competitions, including an average of a goal per game in the Champions League.

Mane's Saudi Arabia salary compared

Sports Brief analysed how Mane's salary compares to other Africans in Saudi Arabia after the former Bayern Munich forward sealed a move to the Middle East.

The 31-year-old Senegalese tops other African players in the league except Mahrez, who earns around £100,000 more than the new Al-Nassr number 10.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.