Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen has been tipped as the favourite to win the FIFA Men’s Player of The Year award as fan voting closed on Friday.
The qualifying period for the prize is between December 19, 2022 and August 10, 2023, with nominees including Argentina captain Lionel Messi, Frenchman Kylian Mbappe and Norwegian Manchester City striker Erling Haaland.
Osimhen is among the favourite for the award after scoring 29 goals in this period while helping Napoli to win the Serie A title for the first time in over three decades.
He also emerged as last season’s Serie A top scorer and was named in the league’s Team of The Season.
Other players on the shortlist are Kevin De Bruyne, Julian Alvarez, Marcelo Brozovic, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodrigo Cascante, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Declan Rice and Bernado Silva.
Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro declared support for the 24-year-old saying, “He can surely win it in the future. He’s not lacking anything to do it. He has different characteristics than other players that are at the top at this moment, but he scores a lot as well.”
Africa’s only Ballon d’Or winner, George Weah believes the Super Eagles forward can win the FIFA Best Award and even go as far as winning the Golden Ball.
“I went on to win the Ballon d’Or. So why not two or more for you, Victor? The sky is your limit. With your dedication, commitment, humility, (and) hard work, you can conquer the world. Africa needs another world best. Africa needs another European best. You Victor, can deliver that for us,” he added.
The Confederation of African Football also praised Osimhen on the nomination for the prestigious award.
Commenting on Osimhen’s nomination, CAF said, “The man of the hour. Congratulations to Victor Osimhen on this precious nomination!”
Aside the Best FIFA Men’s Player award, Osimhen is also shortlisted for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award.
Explaining why Osimhen made it to the FIFA Men’s Player award list, FIFA wrote on their website, “Osimhen was in scintillating form throughout Napoli’s triumphant Serie A campaign. A complete centre-forward, the Nigerian’s eye-catching variety of goals underlines his extraordinary talent. His 26 league strikes in 2022/23 included towering headers, impudent finishes and predatory close-range efforts.”
With Friday the last day to vote, if Osimhen amasses the highest number of votes in the fan voting category, it would boost his chances of winning the highly-coveted award.
It is important that they put Osimhen in first place as that is the only way Osimhen could boost his chances of becoming the first African player since Weah in 1995 to win the FIFA Best Men’s Player award.
Unlike other sporting awards, the FIFA Best award is decided by three different categories of voting. There is the fan voting, players and managers category and the journalists category.
While fans have no say in the latter two, they can boost Osimhen’s chances by voting for him in the fan category.