Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has been crowned the Best African International Player at the 2023 Ghana Football Awards, beating Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and Morocco’s Yassine Bounou to the prestigious accolade.
The Nigerian international, who scored 25 goals in Serie A last season to help Napoli clinch their first Scudetto in 31 years, became the first Nigerian and the first Napoli player to win the award, which was voted by fans and journalists.
Osimhen, who joined Napoli from Lille in 2022 for a club-record fee of €70 million, has been hailed as one of the best strikers in Europe and Africa by his peers and coaches. He also won the top scorer award and the best striker award in Serie A, making him one of the most decorated African players of the season.
The 24-year-old, who has 18 caps and 10 goals for Nigeria, is also a strong contender for the 2023 CAF African Player of the Year award, which will be announced in January. He will face stiff competition from Salah, Mahrez, Bounou and Senegal’s Sadio Mane, who all had impressive seasons for their clubs and countries.
Osimhen’s remarkable rise to stardom has attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United. However, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has insisted that Osimhen is not for sale and that he is happy at the San Paolo Stadium.
Osimhen dedicated his award to his late father, who passed away in May 2022, and thanked his teammates, coaches and fans for their support. He also expressed his pride in representing Nigeria and Africa on the global stage.
“I’m very happy and honored to win this award. It means a lot to me and my family. I want to dedicate it to my late father, who always believed in me and supported me. He is watching over me from heaven,” Osimhen said.
“I also want to thank my teammates, coaches and fans at Napoli for making me feel at home and helping me achieve my dreams. We made history together and I’m proud to be part of this team.”
“Finally, I want to thank Nigeria and Africa for giving me the opportunity to play football and showcase my talent to the world. I’m honored to be recognized as one of the best African players and I hope to inspire more young Africans to follow their dreams.”
Osimhen will be hoping to continue his fine form for Napoli in the upcoming season, as they prepare to defend their Serie A title and compete in the UEFA Champions League. He will also be looking forward to representing Nigeria at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, where the Super Eagles will aim to win their fourth continental trophy.