One-time CAF Player of the Year winner, Emmanuel Amuneke, has stressed that his former player, Victor Osimhen, deserves to win the 2023 edition of the award.
Osimhen is one of the 30-man nominees announced by CAF days after the 24-year-old striker finished 8th in the 2023 Ballon d’Or.
Before now, no Nigerian footballer has ever finished in such a position since 1995 when the organizers, France Football, started recognizing footballers who are non-Europeans.
Aside from that, he is the highest-rated African footballer in the 2023 Ballon d’Or which was won by Lionel Messi for the eighth time in his football career.
Hence, Osimhen who scored 26 goals and provided five assists in 32 Italian Serie A games to help Napoli win the Scudatto for the first time in 33 years last season, is expected to land the CAF award this year.
Note that aside from club competitions, Osimhen has been unstoppable in the African national team football scene. He scored ten goals in the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers and finished as the highest goalscorer in the campaign.
Hence, Emmanuel Amuneke who coached Osimhen in the 2015 FIFA under-17 World Cup in Chile, believes the Nigeria international has all it takes to contend for the CAF Player of the Year award.
“We hope he wins the Caf award with what he has done for his club and the national team,” Amuneke, who won the award in 1994 told the BBC.
“Regardless of not playing at the World Cup [held in Qatar last year], he has been able to establish himself as a worthy contender.”
If Osimhen wins the CAF Player of the Year award in 2023, he will become the first Nigerian player since Nwankwo Kanu won it in 1999, to win the award.
About the quality of Osimhen, Amuneke added, “There is no doubt about his character, in terms of his desire and zeal to achieve something, succeed and win.
“As a coach at youth level, that was something that made me admire him. That is one of the best [attributes] for a player to make it to the highest stage.”
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