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Nigerian Past Winners Of The CAF African Footballer Of The Year Award

Nigerian Past Winners Of The CAF African Footballer Of The Year Award

The Citadel Azure, Hurghada,in Egypt will be agog later this evening with the CAF Awards 2019 ceremony, and a new African Footballer of the Year will be crowned.

Though no Nigerian player is in the final three-man shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year award, Completesports.com’s SULAIMAN ALAO, in this piece recalls Nigerian past winners as the new generation players like Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze step up the search for the top honour by vying for the 2019 Young player of the year honour tonight.

Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, his Liverpool teammate, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Algeria/Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez are vying for the latest top African award tonight.


The late Super Eagles striker was the first Nigerian player to win the coveted African Player of the Year award following his explosive goalscoring form for club and country in 1993.

The ‘Goalsfather,’ as he was popularly known amongst Nigerian soccer fans, scored a career-best 34 goals for Portuguese side, Vitória de Setúbal in the 1992/93 season which helped the club to secure promotion to the elite division.

Yekini also scored crucial goals for Nigeria during the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers which helped him to win the CAF Award. He then came third in 1994.


The diminutive Super Eagles winger succeeded Yekini as the African Footballer of the Year following his blistering performances for Sporting CP of Portugal and El Zamalek of Egypt, as well as his exploits in Nigeria’s triumph at the 1994 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

Amuneke also posted solid displays for the Super Eagles in Nigeria’s debut FIFA World Cup campaign held in the USA also in 1994. He then emerged second in the award in 1995.

NWANKWO KANU: 1996 and 1999

‘Papilo’, as he is fondly called by Nigerian fans, became the only Nigerian player to win the CAF African Footballer of the Year award twice in 1996 and 1999.

Having played prominent role in Ajax’s 1995 UEFA Champions League triumph, Kanu moved to Inter Milan in 1996, but it was his exploits at leading Nigeria to the football gold medal at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics that really helped him to the CAF top award in 1996, not forgetting his memorable brace against Brazil in the semi-final comeback win.

After surviving a career threatening heart defect, Kanu moved to Arsenal in February 1999 where he revived his football career. His exploits for The Gunners was largely responsible for his second CAF award with his 17-minute hat-trick in the 3-2 win against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge being the biggest highlight of his season.

He was also outstanding for the Eagles all through the qualifiers for the year 2000 African Cup of Nations. Kanu is still regarded as the Golden Boy of Nigerian football.


The Prince of Monaco, as Ikpeba is fondly called by Nigerian football fans emerged Africa’s best player in 1997 following his exploits for club and country. The then Eagles’ striker took the French Ligue 1 by storm scoring 13 goals to help Monaco to the league title in the 1996/97 season.

Ikpeba also emerged as the second highest goalscorer with seven goals behind Maurizio Ganz 8 goals) in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup playing for Monaco, while also featuring prominently in Nigeria’s qualification campaign ahead of the 1998 World Cup.

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  • JACKSON 1 year ago

    Who will win?

  • Imagine the drought of quality good players in Naija since after the Prince. Though our J J Okocha was denied when he was clearly ahead of all other contenders in a particular year, since after then, nobody. Its a shame for Naija who has an array of abundant players scattered all over the universe, yet non could perform excellently to wear the shoe of highest African football diadem. This new generation of Naija players
    should please try and re-wright this ugly story.

    • Kweli 1 year ago

      I agree Ben. JJ was my all time African favorite player. You may or may not know this: at a time when JJ had the best chance of being nominated Africa’s Best Player of the Year, officials of the NFF went to attend the meeting in South Africa but forgot to take with them the paperwork for the voting. That cost JJ 5 precious vote. What a shame.

  • Lord AMO 1 year ago

    Perhaps this is our next best chance at the moment. Below is a very pleasing article about Wilfred Ndidi.


  • world war 3rd, USA vs IRAN. my prediction USA to win and over 5.5.

  • US to win both halves