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AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR

Bounou the Barrier: Moroccan No.1 claims coveted CAF Goalkeeper of the Year crown

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Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou of Morocco

Moroccan hero Yassine Bounou further cemented his legendary status on Monday, winning the CAF award for Best African Goalkeeper in Marrakech.

Bounou beat fellow nominees Andre Onana of Cameroon and Egypt’s Mohamed El-Shenawy to the prestigious prize.

The 32-year-old shot-stopper was instrumental in Morocco’s historic World Cup semi-final run in Qatar, pulling off a series of sensational saves.

His cat-like reflexes and sharp decision-making frustrated world-class attackers throughout the tournament.

Bounou’s aerial dominance and commanding presence also kept the Atlas Lions firmly in matches as they became Africa’s first-ever World Cup semi-finalists.

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Currently playing his trade with Saudi giants Al Hilal, Bounou elevated his reputation to become Africa’s undisputed number one keeper in 2022.

Bounou, affectionately nicknamed ‘Bono’, is the first African goalkeeper to ever be ranked in the top 15 for the Ballon d’Or.

His 13th place finish in the 2022 standings highlights his increasing stature as a barrier between the posts.

If Bounou can maintain the form that has made him an impenetrable obstacle for opposition attackers, Morocco are certain to win more laurels

-CAF

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR

Nigerian Breweries raise a toast to Osimhen, Oshoala, and Nnadozie on CAF Awards victories

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Nigerian Breweries Plc, a long-standing pillar of support for Nigerian football, has expressed immense pride and joy in the nation’s historic achievements at the 2023 CAF Awards.

 

The victories of Super Eagles’ forward, Victor Osimhen, and Super Falcons’ duo of Asisat Oshoala, and Chiamaka Nnadozie, were celebrated by the Head of Marketing Communications at Nigerian Breweries, Sandra Amachree who stated, “It is incredibly pleasing to see Nigerian football being celebrated in such a positive light.

 

This feat serves as a powerful inspiration and bodes well for the upcoming 2024 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for both men and women in Cote D’Ivoire and Morocco, respectively.”

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Sandra Amachree further highlighted the significance of these awards, emphasizing their potential to inspire further investment in Nigerian football by Nigerian Breweries.

 

“This success is a testament to the dedication and talent of our players, and it encourages us to continue investing in initiatives that raise the bar for football in Nigeria,” she added.

 

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Osimhen ended Nigeria’s 24-year wait; winning the coveted ‘African Footballer of the Year’ award.

 

The Napoli striker follows in the footsteps of Nigerian legends like Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke, Nwankwo Kanu, and Victor Ikpeba

 

For Oshoala, she continued her reign as the queen of African football by securing a record-extending sixth CAF Player of the Year (Women) award.

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While Nnadozie’s impressive performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup was duly acknowledged as she was awarded the Goalkeeper of the Year (Women) title.

 

The Super Falcons, consistently supported by Amstel Malta Ultra and Zagg Energy Drink with Malt, received their due recognition as they were crowned the Women’s National Team of the Year.

 

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Nigerian Breweries, through some of its brands like 33 Export Lager, Star Lager, Life Continental Beer, Amstel Malta Ultra, and Zagg Energy Drink with Malt, has consistently demonstrated its unwavering support for Nigerian football since February 2018.

 

This commitment extends to both the men’s and women’s teams, as showcased by their continued backing of the Super Eagles and Super Falcons respectively.

 

Osimhen, a past recipient of the 33” Export Lager Man-of-the-Match Award, represents the ongoing commitment of 33 Export Lager and Life Continental Beer to the Super Eagles.

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Similarly, the Super Falcons have enjoyed unparalleled support from Amstel Malta Ultra and Zagg Energy Drink with Malt, fostering a strong partnership between the brands and the women’s national team.

 

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AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR

Celebration still on over Nigeria’s impressive performance at CAF Awards as GTI congratulates Osimhen and Super Falcons

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Strategic partners to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), GTI Asset Management and Trust Limited, have congratulated the trio of Victor Osimhen, Asisat Oshoala, Chiamaka Nnadozie and the entire Super Falcons team on their triumphs at the just concluded 2023 CAF Awards ceremony held in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday night.

In a press statement made available to journalists in Lagos by GTI Head of Media and Publicity, Andrew Ekejiuba, the company affirmed that the remarkable achievements of Victor Osimhen, on winning the CAF 2023 Men’s Player of the Year; Asisat Oshoala who clinched the 2023 CAF Women’s Player of The Year; Chiamaka Nnadozie, who emerged as Woman Goalkeeper of the Year, as well as the Super Falcons as the Women’s National Team of the Year is a confirmation that the country is blessed with abundant talents in sports, especially football.

Reacting to the superlative outings of the Nigerian trio, the Executive Director of GTI, Nelson Ine attributed Nigeria’s continental triumphs at the Awards ceremony to hard work and determination on the part of the players involved.

“GTI is proud to join many stakeholders of Nigerian football in congratulating Nigeria’s sensational striker Victor Osimhen; six-time CAF Women’s Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala; inaugural Woman Goalkeeper of the Year Chiamaka Nnadozie and the Super Falcons for putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

“The triumphant feats by these Nigerians have redoubled the efforts of GTI in seeing that more Osimhens, Oshoalas and Nnadozies are produced through our strategic partnership with the NPFL in the near future.

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“We need to rekindle our efforts at sustaining the country’s soccer prowess going forward and GTI is strategically positioned to compliment the efforts of administrators of sports in Nigeria to actualize this great dream since we have enough talents to make our dream come to fruition,” he stated.

Speaking further, Ine said: “The achievements of Osimhen and co will really serve as an inspiration to aspiring young footballers to always give out their best while wearing the green and white jersey of the country. Therefore, we call on the private sector to continue to play a vital role and support the government in its bid to take sports development in the country to a desirable height.”

However, the CAF 2023 Award prize is a recognition of Osimhen’s exploits for his Napoli club side and the Super Eagles where he is a key member. He spearheaded the Italian team’s unprecedented Serie A title run, scoring 26 goals in the league to become the first African to win the Pichichi (top scorer) Award. Napoli last won the Scudetto 33 years ago during the legendary Diego Maradona’s era.

Also, Osimhen’s ranking in the 2023 Ballon d’Or was a testament to his contributions to the Serie A team’s epochal showing. He was ninth, becoming the highest-ranked Nigerian in the history of the award.

Earlier in the month, the Nigerian was crowned as Italian footballers’ association player of the Year, and became the first African to win the AIC Award.

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Meanwhile, GTI have felicitated with the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh and the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau on the achievements of these young Nigerians at the just concluded CAF 2023 Awards.

 

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AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR

This is my story: Osimhen narrates his rag-to-riches tale

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Victor Osimhen has opened up on his rise to stardom, inspiring others who may be undergoing challenges. On his X platform handle, he narrates his travails and how he conquered.

“As a young boy who came from the streets of Olusosun (in Ojota area of Lagos, Nigeria), who had to hawk in traffic almost every day of the week while growing in-order to survive the numerous challenges my family and I were facing, becoming a Treasure in Africa and World Football was a wild dream.

 

“Words can’t express the joy in my heart, this is a very special moment to me.

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“My football journey has been a rollercoaster of highs, tough lows and emotions. The goals, echoes and jubilation of victories keeps me going even when the critics, hate and pain of defeats hit me hard in the chest.

 

“The support of my amazing family, my fans most especially my Nigerian supporters and the love for the beautiful game of football motivates me to aim higher daily.

 

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“Losing my dear parents in the course of this journey leaves a scar in my heart as they have always been my major driving force for success since I was a kid, may their souls continue to rest in peace.

 

“To my wonderful family thanks for always having my back and loving me so much. I wouldn’t have made it this far without your esteemed support.

 

“To my fans and Nigerian supporters, your dedication in supporting me on the good days and bad days do not go unnoticed, even amidst the arrows of hatred thrown at me y’all still stood by my side. I am grateful.

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“Winning the CAF Best African Player 2023 is a testament of my hardwork, your love and support.

 

“I am so proud of myself for achieving this prestigious award. Thank you CAF, to all the coaches I have played under both local and international, your wisdom and knowledge have played huge roles in guiding my footballing career, thank you so much.

 

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“I am sure my parents in heaven are smiling at me, this is for you. I also congratulate Chiamaka Nnadozie and Asisat Oshoala for their prestigious awards. Dreams do come true! Thank you everyone,GOD is the greatest.”

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