Osimhen was included in the list of 30 players for the CAF African Player of the Year 2023, which was recently revealed by the confederation.
The Awards Gala will take place on December 11 in Marrakech, Morocco.
In an interview with NAN, Mohammed expressed his belief that Osimhen deserved the award for his exceptional performance in both African and global football rankings during the review period.
Osimhen made history for Nigeria and Africa by finishing eighth in the 2023 Men’s Ballon d’Or rankings. This accomplishment marked the first time in 24 years that a Nigerian player had been nominated and placed in the top 10 in the male category.
Kanu Nwankwo, a veteran Nigerian footballer, achieved 11th place in the 1996 Ballon d’Or ranking and 23rd place in the 1999 edition.
Osimhen’s eighth-place finish not only set a new record as the highest-ranked Nigerian player at the Ballon d’Or, but also as the highest-ranked African player at this year’s event.
“I believe he has done enough to win the African Player of the Year Award. He truly deserves it, especially after his eighth-place finish on the Ballon d’Or list.
“In the 2022/2023 season, Osimhen was in excellent form, scoring 25 goals in the league and helping Napoli, an Italian football powerhouse, win their first Serie A title in 33 years.
“He also won the Best Striker in Serie A award, surpassing Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan and Rafael Leao of AC Milan,” Mohammed stated.
“Throughout the UEFA Champions League, Osimhen scored five goals in six games for Napoli, reaching the quarterfinal stage,” he added.
Mohammed highlighted Osimhen’s crucial role in securing a place for the Super Eagles in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
He also mentioned that Osimhen’s outstanding performance in the league made him the first African player to lead the Serie A scoring chart and surpass George Weah’s record for the most goals scored by an African in the Italian league.
While acknowledging the deserving nature of Osimhen for the CAF Men’s Award, Mohammed acknowledged the presence of other factors that come into play.
He explained that emotions often influence African awards, making it difficult to predict the outcome, and unexpected results have occurred in the past.
“The World Cup is considered the largest platform, and Nigeria failed to qualify for the tournament in Qatar.
“Osimhen’s main competition may come from Achraf Hakimi of Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain, who won a club title and reached the World Cup semi-finals with his country, which is a tremendous achievement.
“Additionally, Riyad Mahrez of Algeria won the treble with Manchester City, including the English Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.
“Regional divisions and vested interests should also be taken into account. The Anglophone and Francophone dichotomy has always existed, so that is another factor from a political perspective.
“However, having said that, I firmly believe that Osimhen’s accomplishments are incredible, and he deserves to win,” Mohammed concluded.
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