(Reuters) – Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has been named African Footballer of the Year after beating Mohamed Salah to the award at a ceremony in Marrakech on Monday, with compatriot Asisat Oshoala winning the top prize in the women’s category.
Osimhen, 24, scored 26 goals as he helped Napoli to a surprise triumph in Serie A last season and was the leading marksmen in Italy’s top division.
Egypt’s Liverpool forward Salah and Morocco’s Paris St Germain right-back Achraf Hakimi were the other two final nominees but Osimhen claimed the prize to become the first Nigerian winner since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.
“It is a dream come true. I have to thank everybody who has helped me on this journey and all Africans who have helped to put me on the map despite my faults,” Osimhen said.
Morocco won National Team of the Year in the men’s category after their thrilling run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar, while their manager Walid Regragui won Coach of the Year.
Nigeria’s Barcelona forward Oshoala was the women’s African Footballer of the Year for a record sixth time, having battled injury to help her side to the round of 16 at the World Cup in Australia & New Zealand where they took England to penalties.
Nigeria took home the trophy for National Team of the Year, but South Africa’s Desiree Ellis won women’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in succession.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)