Top 7: Early challengers to Victor Osimhen’s CAF Player of the Year crown – Boniface in, Mahrez out

In December, Victor Osimhen became the first Nigerian in 24 years to be named the best player on the continent when he won the CAF Player of the Year, reports. 

It would be difficult for the Napoli man to retain that prestigious honour in 2024, considering the large pool of outstanding talents aiming for the highest recognition on the continent.

With Napoli’s struggles rubbing off on Osimhen badly, the Nigerian could relinquish the award at the end of the year.

Mo Salah

The biggest challenger to Osimhen’s crown will be Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

Salah had a terrible outing at the AFCON, but he has been excellent for Liverpool.

The 31-year-old is the highest-scoring African in the Premier League and has been leading Liverpool’s charge to reclaim the league title.

Should he help the Reds to glory, it will be difficult for anyone to beat him to the POTY, especially with his old nemesis – Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane – away in Saudi Arabia preparing for retirement.

Victor Boniface

Then there is Victor Boniface.

In Boniface’s first year in Germany, he helped Bayer Leverkusen win the Bundesliga title for the first time in the club’s history.

The 23-year-old has also impressed in the UEFA Europa League, and he could be a top challenger for the POTY should Bayer Leverkusen win the tournament.

And with the DFB Pokal Bayer’s to lose, a treble will likely seal Boniface’s fate as the next King of the Continent.

Serhou Guirassy

Vfb Stuttgart forward Serhou Guirassy has also put his name in the hat following his fine form in Germany this term.

Guirassy is the highest-scoring African in the Bundesliga, with only Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane netting more.

The 28-year-old could not replicate his excellent club form at the AFCON for Guinea as he was not completely fit.

However, he could become Osimhen’s top challenger if he bangs in the goals that boost Guinea’s chances of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Youssef En-Nesyri

There is no forgetting Morocco’s World Cup star, Youssef En-Nesyri.

The highest-scoring African in La Liga this season, En-Nesyri can be proud of some of his performances for Sevilla.

His return of 15 goals and two assists in 34 games across all competitions is impressive, but his POTY chances are low, as Sevilla have no chance of winning any title this term.

En-Nesyri also scored a goal at the AFCON, but Morocco failed to shine in Cote d’Ivoire, further hampering his hopes for the best player award.

Achraf Hakimi

En-Nesyri’s compatriot Achraf Hakimi has a better chance of beating Osimhen to the award.

Despite the disappointing outing at the AFCON, Hakimi is flying high on the wings of Paris Saint-Germain.

The Parisians are through to the semifinals of the Champions League after beating Barcelona, with Hakimi playing a key role.

PSG are also on course to retain their French Ligue 1 title, as they boast a healthy lead over second-placed Brest.

Should Hakimi win these two titles, he will certainly jump to the front of the queue in the race for the POTY.

Mohammed Kudus

Ghana international Mohammed Kudus will also be a top contender for the award.

Kudus arrived in West Ham from Ajax Amsterdam last summer and has been a great addition for the Hammers.

The 23-year-old has contributed seven goals and four assists in 28 Premier League games.

More than the goals, though, it is Kudus’s tricks, dribbles, and quick feet that have wowed many in England.

He shone in a poor Ghana team that crashed out of the 2023 AFCON in the group stage, but he will need to do more during the World Cup qualifiers to convince that he merits the crown of the continent’s best.


Ademola Lookman

Alongside William Troost-Ekong and Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman was Nigeria’s finest player at the AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire.
Lookman was Nigeria’s joint-top goalscorer at that tournament.

The former Leicester City winger is also a key player for Atalanta, with the club performing excellently in the Europa League.

Lookman could see his value rise through the roof should Atalanta win that tournament, pushing him forward as one of the top contenders for the POTY.

What are Osimhen’s POTY chances?

The reigning African best will not relinquish his crown without giving a fight.

While Napoli are set to finish the campaign trophy-less, Osimhen already has an AFCON silver medal to show for his troubles this season.

With several 2026 World Cup and 2025 AFCON qualifying matches slated for this year, Osimhen has enough chances to excel for the Super Eagles.

The 25-year-old will likely leave Napoli for one of Europe’s biggest clubs this summer, and his exploits in the second half of the season for his new club could also brighten his POTY.

Former Somali national team manager Said Abdi Haibeh is convinced it will be foolhardy to rule Osimhen out of the race for the 2024 POTY.

“He still has time to hit a good form before the crown is given at the end of the year, but lists of other brilliant African footballers are also aiming to win the crown at the end of the year,” Haibeh told Flashscore

“In addition to Osimhen being a natural goalscorer, his contribution will be crucial for Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup 2026.”

NB: Who is the greatest threat to Victor Osimhen’s crown? Leave your comments below.

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