Why Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen Could Be Crowned the 2023 Africa Footballer of the Year
- Victor Osimhen continues to get goals for both club and country as the striker is in the form of his life
- If he leads Napoli to the Serie A title this season, he surely then looks good for the Africa Footballer of the Year Award
- The Nigerian international leads the scorer’s chart in the Italian topflight as well as in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
Scoring for free in a league as difficult as the Italian Serie A is a herculean task, but Victor Osimhen continues to do that week-in-week-out as he sets his sights on the Africa Footballer of the Year Award.
Having scored 18 goals for Lille during the 2019/2020 season, the Nigerian international attracted interest from Italian club Napoli in the summer of that 2020.
Despite struggling with injuries and COVID-19, the striker managed 10 goals in his first season with the Partenopei and then hit 18 goals in 32 matches in all competitions last season.
Osimhen has already netted 15 goals in 20 matches in all competitions so far this campaign, and Napoli are now on course to win the Scudetto again after over three decades.
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Why Osimhen could become the next African best?
Napoli is already way ahead of others and no doubt, Osimhen’s goals have given the club a glimmer of hope in their quest for the Serie A title.
He is leading the scorer’s chart in the Italian topflight, having scored some very crucial goals to ensure the Parthenopeans remain atop the standings.
In fact, following his stunning strike against AS Roma, renowned manager Jose Mourinho compared the forward with Ivorian legend Didier Drogba.
“He is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive. If Victor changes, then OK. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money.
“However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hardon him.”
Napoli are not just doing well in the domestic league, they go into the knockout phase of the Champions League as leaders of a Group which has Liverpool, Ajax, and Rangers.
They take on Eintracht Frankfurt on February 21 as they continue their quest for the prestigious title and Osimhen's impact will be crucial.
Osimhen leads scorer’s chart in AFCON qualifiers
Also, the 24-year-old already has 5 goals in the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, including four in Nigeria’s 10-0 thrashing of Sao Tome and Principe.
The former VFL Wolfsburg striker will play a very crucial role for the national team in their quest to qualify for the tournament billed to be held in the Ivory Coast in January 2024.
He is currently in the form of his life and the AFCON qualifiers return in March as Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro will be banking on the forward.
Two Players who could battle Osimhen for Africa Footballer of the Year Award
No doubt, Riyad Mahrez and Achraf Hakimi will also be in the picture when the nominees are set to be rolled out.
Manchester City winger Mahrez has been in incredible form this season, with manager Pep Guardiola crediting the club’s turnaround to the Algerian.
Guardiola said via 90min:
“He is, step by step, getting better. He is not at his best, but he’s getting better. Maybe Riyad had a problem coming back from the summertime, not the World Cup. The quality from Riyad is everything.
“He loves to play football, helped us to play the game [today], he played really good. He played an outstanding game playing wider. He never lost that [love]. He loves to play football.”
How about Hakimi?
Although Romain Saiss captained Morocco to the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Hakimi’s contribution was somewhat priceless.
The 24-year-old played a very important role for his side and even scored the winning penalty against Spain in the Round of 16.
Hakimi was rewarded for his outstanding 2022 season with his club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and his odyssey into world cup history with the Moroccan national squad bagging the Best Arab Sportsman in Saudi Arabia.
Osimhen on Manchester United's radar
Sports Brief earlier reported that English Premier League club Manchester United have continued to be heavily linked with Nigerian international striker Victor Osimhen.
Napoli have raised the striker’s transfer fee to about €120 million (£105m) price tag this summer, according to Sky journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
Since United parted ways with Cristiano Ronaldo last December, the Red Devils have been in the market searching for another striker.