Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has the talent, hunger, and desire to win it all – individual and collective honours – with Napoli this season.
And the stars appear to be aligning in favour of the Super Eagles forward following his performances for the Neapolitans in Italy and Europe.
With 18 goals already, Victor Osimhen is the favourite to finish as the Italian Serie A’s top scorer. If achieved, it will make him the first African player to reach that height.
That would be an awesome achievement considering some of Africa’s greatest ever players – including George Weah and Samuel Eto’o – have previously starred in the Italian top flight.
With Napoli conquering all on their path to a first Scudetto title in over 30 years, Osimhen is almost certainly guaranteed the first league win of his career.
And with the 24-year-old striker the chief protagonist of that destined triumph, it will not surprise many to see him named the best player in Italy at the end of the season.
Away from Italy, Osimhen showed his class on the continent in midweek when he helped Napoli claim an important 2-0 win away to Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Champions League.
It is hard to find another African player who dominates any of Europe’s top five leagues and the continent’s premier club competition like Osimhen.
And it is Osimhen’s dominance that is fueling talks of him becoming the first Nigerian winner of the CAF African Player of the Year award since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.
But who are the biggest stars who can rival Osimhen and possibly even beat him to the award in 2023?
The current holder of the award, Sadio Mane, has enjoyed a near-seamless integration at Bayern Munich and will likely win the Bundesliga in his first season in Germany.
But with 11 goals and four assists in 23 appearances, the 30-year-old is not even the best player in Munich.
And with injury keeping him out of the 2022 World Cup, Mane’s chances of winning the CAF top award is already diminished.
Despite scoring his 19th goal in Liverpool’s 2-5 thrashing at the hands of Real Madrid on Thursday, Salah has performed below his usual high standards.
The Egyptian forward is facing a barren campaign, with Liverpool out of the Premier League race and the Reds already one leg out of the Champions League.
Salah remains a favourite among voters, but it would be hard to claim his third POTY award on the back of his indifferent displays this term.
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez completes the list of the usual suspects.
2023 could be the year the Algerian magician finally adds another CAF African Footballer of the Year award to the one he won in 2016.
The 32-year-old winger has managed 12 goals and five assists this season. And should Manchester City retain the Premier League and reach the latter stages of the Champions League, Mahrez would be the biggest stumbling block to Osimhen’s podium finish at the CAF awards.
The Moroccan bunch
After becoming the first African nation to reach the semifinals of the World Cup in Qatar, Morocco could have one or two of their biggest stars in the shout for the continent’s best player award.
That Moroccan team had several standout performers, including goalkeeper Yassine Bono, midfielders Sofyan Amrabat and Azzedine Ounahi, and defender Achraf Hakimi.
Backed by PSG exploits in France, right-back Achraf Hakimi could, however, be the only one nominated for the top honour.
Can Victor Osimhen beat them all to be named the winner of the 2023 CAF African Footballer of the Year award?
Kindly leave your answers in the comment section.