Nigerian footballer Victor Osimhen has been crowned the 2023 African Footballer of the Year, 24 years after a Nigerian won the coveted award.
Osimhen who was winning the award after Kanu Nwankwo last did put Nigeria as winner in 1999, appreciated the legendary Emmanuel Amuneke, who coached him at the U-17 level. He also appreciated the Nigerian fans.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to God for everything. Special thanks go to Mr. Emmanuel Amunike; without him, I don’t think I would be standing in front of you guys holding one of the most prestigious awards in world football,” he said at the gathering of the creme-de-la-creme of African football and beyond.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I want to thank everyone who has seen me through life’s journey. In achieving my dreams, in achieving my goals.
“I appreciate Nigerians for their support; I appreciate Africa for putting me on the map, for encouraging me, and for defending me regardless of my shortcomings.
“I also thank Emmanuel Adebayo for his encouragement. Solomon Kalou, I appreciate you and every African legend that I have looked up to while growing up has inspired me. Didier Drogba, my role model, thank you so much. God bless you all,” he said.
The prize is a recognition of Osimhen’s exploits for his Napoli club side and the national team where he is a key member. He spearheaded the Italian team’s unprecedented Serie A title run, scoring 26 goals in the league to become the first African to win the top scorer award. His contribution broke George Weah’s record as the highest-scoring player from the continent in the Italian top flight.