Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has been crowned the Italian footballers’ association (AIC) player of the year for his sterling performance for Napoli last season.
The Super Eagles star was presented with the award on Monday night after helping his side win their first league title in 33 years.
Osimhen scored 26 Serie A goals in 2022-23, breaking George Weah’s record as the highest-scoring African in the Italian top flight in the process.
The former Lille and Wolfsburg striker became the first African to ever win the AIC award, joining the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, Cristiano Ronaldo and last year’s winner Rafael Leao as recipients of the prize.
“Thank you for the recognition and awards, thank you my family, friends and supporters for your votes and unending support.” Osimhen, who was also included in the Serie A team of the year, said in a message posted on X.
Osimhen has been hit by injury this season but the 24-year-old has scored six goals in 10 league games, having returned to action for Walter Mazzari’s side as a substitute in the win against Atalanta on 25 November.
With the AIC award following his eighth-placed finish in the 2023 men’s Ballon d’Or, the striker will hope to become the first Nigerian player to claim the Confederation of African Football (Caf) men’s player of the year trophy since former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu did so in 1999.
Meanwhile, it was double delight for Africa as Malawi international Tabitha Chawinga won the AIC’s women’s prize after she finished as the domestic top scorer last season with 23 goals for Inter Milan.
The 27-year-old striker, who is now on loan at Paris St-Germain, was the first African woman to be the highest-scoring player in Serie A Femminile.
However, Chawinga has been surprisingly overlooked by Caf for its African women’s player of the year award, missing out from the shortlist of nominees.
The winners of the Caf awards will be announced on Monday, 11 December in Marrakesh, Morocco.