Former Togolese and Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor believes Nigerian star Victor Osimhen is a strong contender for the CAF Footballer of the Year award in 2023.
Osimhen is up against Egyptian attacker Mohamed Salah, who is vying for a third African Player of the Year award, and Moroccan midfielder Achraf Hakimi, who was part of the inspiring Moroccan squad that became the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
Osimhen is widely regarded as the frontrunner to win the title after leading Napoli to their first Serie A victory in 33 years in 2022-2023.
Adebayor, 39, was the winner of African football most coveted award in 2008, defeating Egyptian veteran Mohamed Aboutrika and Ghanaian player Michael Essien.
During the awards’ opening ceremony on Monday, Adebayor lauded Napoli’s 24-year-old player for his outstanding performance.
”Let us put it into perspective What Osimhen has done is incredible. It is just like winning the French Ligue 1 with Lille,’ Adebayor said.
”I’m not saying Napoli is a small team; it is a big team and this team has been struggling for years to win the Scudetto back and they couldn’t but Osimhen was the main player and a key player.”
”Scoring goals week in and week out in England is something we can all do in top form but trust me, it is very, very difficult to replicate in Italy.”
”Because defensively, they are very strong and tactically, and they have the best defenders in the world. ”
On why fellow contenders Salah and Hakimi might not clinch the crown, the former Arsenal player indicated that they had little impact in their various club sides.
”Obviously, for me, Mo Salah’s last season, I won’t say, was a disaster but when you put it together as a club for Liverpool, they didn’t do anything.”
”Now, when you come to Hakimi for the good tournament with Morocco and go to the semi-finals of the World Cup, he also played his part but he was more of a team player; there was no shining star amongst the Moroccan team,” he said.