Top 5 Early Contenders for African Footballer of the Year Award, Victor Boniface Climbs to the Top

Top 5 Early Contenders for African Footballer of the Year Award, Victor Boniface Climbs to the Top

Edwin Kiplagat
May 20, 2024 at 10:00 AM
In this article:
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Victor Okoh Boniface logo
V. O. Boniface
Bayer Leverkusen logoFNigeria logo
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang logo
P. Aubameyang
Marseille logoFGabon logo
Mohamed Salah logo
M. Salah
Liverpool logoFEgypt logo
Sehrou Guirassy logo
S. Guirassy
VfB Stuttgart logoFFrance logo
Liverpool logo
Bundesliga logo
GER Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen logo
Bayer Leverkusen
Napoli logo
Nigeria logo
  • The race for the 2024 African Footballer of the Year award will be intriguing
  • Victor Osimhen's quest to defend the award he won last year is crumbling
  • Victor Boniface has emerged as a front-runner after winning the Bundesliga

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Club football across Europe is coming to an end after a memorable campaign.

Some African footballers emerged victorious in their leagues, while others produced excellent performances throughout the season.

It's only May, but African football fans have started discussing who will win the coveted 2024 African Footballer of the Year award.

Victor Boniface, Mohamed Salah, Serhou Guirassy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Victor Osimhen, Bayer Leverkusen, Bundesliga, Napoli, Premier League, African Footballer of the Year
Bayer Leverkusen striker, Victor Boniface, has had a better season than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Photos by Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto and Chris Brunskill/Fantasista.
Source: Getty Images

Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, won the award in 2023 following a historic season with the Italian side, but his performances in the 2023/24 season have been underwhelming.

Some players, like Victor Boniface and Serhou Guirassy, outperformed the Nigerian superstar and will be serious contenders for the award.

The Premier League and the Bundesliga ended this past weekend with Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen lifting the titles. Sports Brief looks at the top five early contenders for the African Footballer of the Year award.

2024 African Footballer of the Year contenders

5. Victor Osimhen - Napoli and Nigeria

Osimhen is the reigning African Footballer of the Year, but he needs to produce much better numbers to challenge other players on this list. 2023/24 was his best season, without a doubt. He led Napoli to their first Serie title in 33 years and became the first African to win the Serie A Golden Boot.

The club has had a dismal 2023/24 season. They are 10th in the table and will likely not play European football next season. Osimhen's numbers have also declined drastically. Last campaign, he had 31 goals in all competitions but has only managed 17. He can still defend his crown if he starts well next season, probably in a different club.

4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Olympique Marseille and Gabon

Aubameyang won the award in 2015; at 34, he can still win it again. The Gabonese had 30 goals and 11 assists in 51 games this season. No African has scored more than him in Europe's top five leagues.

His career was in shambles a few years ago, but it seems he has found his feet in France. Unfortunately, his club finished eighth in Ligue 1, meaning they missed out on European football next season. Despite this, he was the African top scorer in the French top flight.

3. Mohamed Salah - Liverpool and Egypt

Salah has had an indifferent season. He scored frequently in the early stages of the season, but since returning from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, he struggled to get going, mainly due to injury. He finished the season with 25 goals and 14 assists in 44 games in all competitions. He won the English League Cup in February with the Reds. He was the African top scorer in the Premier League this past season.

The Egyptian won the award in 2017 and 2018 and finished in the top three in 2019, 2022, and 2023. Unfortunately for him, he probably hasn't done enough so far to win the award for the third time.

2. Serhou Guirassy - Stuttgart and Guinea

No one saw the Guinean scoring 28 Bundesliga goals for Stuttgart this past season. The 28-year-old will also play in the Champions League next season after the team finished second in the Bundesliga ahead of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Only Harry Kane scored more goals than Guirassy in the German top flight. Although Guirassy ended the season trophyless, it was a historic campaign for the Guinean. He scored 30 goals in all competitions.

1. Victor Boniface - Bayer Leverkusen and Nigeria

The 23-year-old centre-forward has had a dream first season in Germany. He has won the Bundesliga title with Leverkusen and is on track to win two more trophies to end an unprecedented campaign with the club. He finished the Bundesliga with 14 goals and eight assists.

Despite missing nearly four months of action, he was the club's top scorer in the league. In total, he has 21 goals and nine assists in 33 matches. He won the Rookie of the Season award and was named in the team of the season. A DFB-Pokal and a Europa League would make him Africa's best footballer of 2024.

Osimhen matches Maradona's record

Sports Brief also previously reported on Osimhen matching Diego Maradona's record after bagging a hat-trick when Napoli beat Sassuolo 6-1 in February.

After that treble, he reached 10 Serie A goals in four straight seasons, joining Maradona (1984-85 to 1987-88) and Attila Sallustro (1929-30 to 1932-33).

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.