Nigeria big winner of the African Football Awards, boycotted by Algeria

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) awarded the various African football prizes on the evening of Monday, December 11, as part of the 19th Awards ceremony

Nigeria big winner of the African Football Awards, boycotted by Algeria

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) awarded the various African football prizes on the evening of Monday, December 11, as part of the 19th Awards ceremony. This awards ceremony, organized at the Marrakech convention center in Morocco, rewarded both individual and collective performances for the 2022-2023 season, and concerned players playing in Africa, but also in Europe.

The history of this ceremony, the 2020 and 2021 editions of which were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will also remember, in addition to the names of the winners, that a controversy broke out a few hours before its opening. Its origin: a declaration the day before by Walid Sadi, the president of the Algerian Football Federation (FAF). The leader then informed CAF that he would not go to Marrakech to protest against the absence of Riyad Mahrez.

The striker of the Algerian national team and Al-Ahli (Saudi Arabia) was not among the nominees for the title of best African player of the season after winning the Champions League with Manchester City before his departure for the Gulf Persian. Walid Sadi was also surprised that USM Alger, winner of the CAF Cup and the African Super Cup, did not appear in the list of the best club teams.

Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa

But the main lesson of this evening came at the time of the awarding of the various prizes, mainly won by Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa. The most anticipated concerned the one to designate the best African footballer of the year. It was awarded, following a vote by the public and CAF technical experts, to Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen (24), Italian champion with Naples and top scorer in Serie A. The Lagos native beat the Egyptian Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) and Moroccan Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain) and succeeds Senegalese Sadio Mané on the list.

Nigeria has also won other awards thanks to its women's football dominance on the continent. The Super Falcons thus obtained that of the best national selection, especially after its honorable performance during the 2023 World Cup, where it reached the round of 16 against England, the future finalist. Striker Asisat Oshoala (29, FC Barcelona) was awarded the trophy for best African player for the sixth time. Its captain, Chiamaka Nnadozie (23), under contract with Paris FC, was elected goalkeeper of the year.

The other big winner of this ceremony is Morocco. The Atlas Lions unsurprisingly won the prize for best African selection. A logical reward for the North Africans who finished in fourth place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Their coach Walid Regragui was elected best coach, even though his appointment only took place three months before the World Cup, replacing Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic in August 2022. Yassine Bounou (32, Al-Hilal, Saudi Arabia) received the best goalkeeper award.

Egypt and Senegal

Morocco, which decided to modernize its women's football, was also rewarded, with the titles of best young player for Nesryne El Chad (20 years old, Lille) and African player playing in Africa for Fatima Tagnaout (24 years old, FAR Rabat ). Another African football power on the continent, South Africa, was also awarded. Thus, international striker Percy Tau, winner of the 2022-2023 Champions League with Al-Ahly (Egypt) obtained the title of best African player on the continent.

The “rainbow” nation also saw its women’s football rewarded. The Mamelodi Sundowns club, whose owner is none other than Patrice Motsepe, the president of CAF, was elected African club of the year, after winning the Champions League for the second time. National coach Desiree Ellis (60) was awarded the Coach of the Year award.

Two other countries, Egypt and Senegal, shared the latest prices. The Al-Ahly club in Cairo has once again been crowned the best African team thanks to winning its eleventh Champions League. His striker Mahmoud Abdelmonem “Kahraba” (29 years old) received the best goal of the year, thanks to the one scored during a Champions League match against Al-Hilal (Sudan).

Senegalese striker Lamine Camara (20 years old, FC Metz), trained like his elder by the Dakar sports association Génération Foot, managed to win two different international competitions a few months apart with his country: the Championship of Nations (CHAN) in February in Algeria and the CAN under 20 in Egypt a month later, and of which he was one of the main presenters. He was logically elected best young African player.