Sadio Mane won the prize for 2022, but who could succeed him?
1. Victor Osimhen
Osimhen was oddly left off of the 30-man shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year award this year, but he can reflect back on a successful season with Napoli in the Italian Serie A.
His 14 goals for the Partenopei helped Luciano Spalletti’s team qualify for the Champions League, further solidifying his position as one of the best African attackers in the game right now.
The 23-year-old is destined to get to the top of the African game whether in Italy or elsewhere. He has also been linked with moves to Arsenal and Bayern Munich, among other clubs.
2. Franck Kessie
Given that he helped lead AC Milan to the Serie A championship, Kessie was maybe unlucky not to have advanced to the top three in this year’s Caf POTY rankings.
Without the strong midfielder, the Rossoneri would not have been able to break their ten-year wait to once again rule Italian football.
Kessie scored six goals for Milan in addition to his defensive duties, and it’s exciting to think what he can accomplish now at Barcelona.
Kessie, who is still only 25, should have plenty of chances to win the trophy and an Afcon on home soil to look forward to.
3. Hugo Ekitike
Ekitike, who last summer left Stade de Reims for Paris Saint-Germain after first signing on a loan, is set to become the next great thing in French football.
In recent transfer windows, Newcastle United has been strongly linked to him, but PSG’s resolve to ensure the player’s future ultimately prevailed.
Will the wonderkid eventually play for France or Cameroon at the senior level, despite the fact that his future is undoubtedly bright? He scored 10 goals last season.
4. Achraf Hakimi
Hakimi continues to experience success wherever he goes, having now won awards in four of the greatest footballing nations in Europe.
The 23-year-old followed up victories with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Internazionale with a Ligue 1 championship medal last season, and there is undoubtedly more success ahead for him.
Expect more gold to follow as he solidifies his position at Paris Saint-Germain; the wideman already makes an impact for Morocco’s national squad.
5. Youssoufa Moukoko
It’s true that Moukoko’s development stalled last season as a result of the wonderkid’s injury issues when he made the switch from youth to senior football.
With only one year remaining on his contract with Borussia Dortmund, Moukoko’s future is similarly up in the air, but a preseason brace over SC Verl has sparked hope that his previous romance with BVB might be revived.
Germano-Cameroonian Moukoko, who is only 17 and extraordinarily competent for his age, is undoubtedly headed for the top of the sport.
6. Kamaldeen Sulemana
Sulemana, who was shockingly left off of the three-man shortlist for the Caf Young Player of the Year award, had a much better year than the winner, Pape Matar Sarr.
Sulemana of Stade Rennais was the only player in Ligue 1 last season to average more dribbles per game than Kylian Mbappe, which explains why he’s already the torment of Ligue 1 defenses.
A stronger danger in the final third will transform Sulemana, a member of Ghana’s new generation and rumored transfer target for Newcastle United, into a truly devastating wideman.