Ademola Lookman, Boniface and 3 players that can dethrone Osimhen’s for CAF Player of the Year Award

Napoli put up a poor showing of a title defence this season, and consequently, it is unlikely Osimhen will retain his CAF Best Men’s Player Award for another term. We evaluate the players most likely to replace him.

Victor Osimhen’s AFCON win was received with much fanfare, and rightly so, given the dominance through which he won it and the 24-year wait for a Nigerian winner since King Kanu was crowned in 1999.

However, it is about time to start discussing Osimhen’s successor, as the shelf life of his coronation is a short one-year span.

Unless the Napoli forward imitates stars like Sadio Mane (2019, 2022), Mohamed Salah (2017, 2018), Yaya Toure (2011-2014), Samuel Eto’o (2003-2005), El Hadji Diouf (2001, 2002), and Abedi Pele (1991-1993) by submitting a campaign worthy of an extension for another year or more, he will have to abdicate the throne for another superstar.

Given Napoli’s shambolic title defence-which is on course to be at least the second worst in Serie A history-and Osimhen’s injury-ridden season, his chances of doing enough to retain the crown are increasingly bleak.

This article evaluates the players that could dethrone him for the next year:

Ademola Lookman

The Atalanta man has had a stellar season. He has racked up 20 goal contributions for La Dea this season: 12 goals and eight assists.

Ademola Lookman with a familiar celebration after the goal against Marseille. (Photo Credit: Imago)

He has also been a man for the big moments: he scored the goal that sent Atalanta to the final of the Coppa Italia, and a few days ago, he propelled Atalanta to the final of the Europa League.

Lookman also had a brilliant AFCON tournament. He was the best-performing forward for the Super Eagles, scoring three goals in the competition.

Winning the Europa League and Coppa Italia would place the Wandsworth-born forward in an advantageous position for the award.

Mohamed Salah

The two-time winner is still the continent’s biggest active player, and possibly the best.

Injury blighted his AFCON tournament, and Liverpool will only win the EFL Cup they beat Chelsea to this season.

However, individually, this season, only a few African players compare. He has scored 25 goals in all competitions while providing 14 assists, making up 39 goal contributions in 42 starts.

Liverpool 2024/25 season jersey modeled by Salah.

Victor Boniface

Without the injury that prevented him from participating at the AFCON and a sizable chunk of Bayer Leverkusen’s title charge, Victor Boniface would probably be the clear front-runner for the next CAF Player of the Year Award.

Regardless, he is still a star member of a team about to set an unprecedented record of going unbeaten in all competitions.

Victor Boniface on his debut for Super Eagles -, Credit: Instagram/Victor Boniface

Despite the setback, his numbers have been near excellent. He has scored 19 goals and provided 10 assists in all competitions, summing up to a healthy 29 goal contributions in 31 games.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gabonese striker’s season has gone under the mainstream radar, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been one of the best forwards in the world this season.

Although the former Champions League winners have struggled in Ligue 1, they reached the Europa League semi-finals before a Lookman-powered Atalanta knocked them out.

Aubameyang is enjoying a new life in the Ligue 1. (Photo Credit: Marseille/X)

Aubameyang has undoubtedly propelled them to those heights with his 27 goals and 11 assists

Sebastien Haller

On a performance-based level, Haller has no business on this list, as he has barely been involved in matches this season.

Haller has only started five league games this season and has only managed to rack up 51 minutes in the Champions League, as he has struggled with ankle injuries.

Sebastien Haller with the AFCON 2023 trophy - The Independent

However, he was influential in Ivory Coast’s knock-out round charge towards the AFCON triumph, and Dortmund are in the Champions League final.

He has returned from injury, according to TransferMarkt, and a strong performance in a possible Champions League triumph and a strong start to next season merged with his AFCON showing could make for a weighty submission.

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