Nigerian international players, Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala, have achieved a historic feat by both being nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award. This nomination marks a significant milestone for Nigeria, making it the first country to have male and female players nominated for the prestigious award in the same year.
Osimhen, representing the Super Eagles, has made a significant impact in the Italian Serie A, where he has garnered numerous accolades. However, his outstanding performance played a pivotal role in Napolio clinching the scudeto after 33 years of anxious waiting.
Osimhen’s nomination places him in competition with football luminaries such as Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, Kylian Mbappe, and Kevin De Bruyne, Osimhen and Oshoala set African record for Nigeria in Ballon d’Or nomination
During the 2022-23 season, Osimhen scored an impressive 26 goals in Serie A league matches. In addition to five goals in the UEFA Champions League and seven goals in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, he became the first African player in the 125-year history of the Italian Serie A to win the Golden Boot, achieving something even the great George Weah was unable to.
Likewise, Oshoala has earned her nomination in the female category owning to her exceptional contributions to Barcelona Femeni and the Super Falcons. In the 2021-22 season, she emerged as the top scorer, amassing 20 goals and providing four assists in 19 Spanish Liga F appearances.
In the 2022-23 season, Oshoala continued her impressive form, tallying 21 goals and three assists in 28 domestic league appearances and adding five goals in all nine Women’s Champions League matches.
Despite facing challenges of low match fitness, she made a significant impact at the Women’s World Cup by scoring a crucial goal against the Australian Matildas, securing victory for Randy Waldrum’s team.
Oshoala is now eyeing the 2023 Women’s Ballon d’Or, competing with other football stars who have excelled in their respective leagues and countries. Both Osimhen and Oshoala have brought pride to the Nigerian football community with their outstanding achievements, giving fans plenty to cheer about.
Other Africans on the list include Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Manchester United’s Andre Onana, and Yassine Bounou of Morocco.The event will be held in Paris on October 30.
Osimehen is currently in the Super Eagles camp in Uyo for the dead rubber game against Saotome and Principe.
IMAGE: National Insight