In a historic turn of events, Nigerian football stars Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala have made headlines and etched their names in football history by securing nominations for the prestigious Ballon d’Or awards in 2023.
Osimhen’s nomination marks a 24-year gap for Nigerian male footballers, while Oshoala continues to make waves as one of the finest female players on the planet.
Touchaheart Nigeria reports on their incredible journeys and accomplishments that led to this recognition.
Victor Osimhen’s Remarkable Journey
Victor Osimhen, the Super Eagles forward, has become the first Nigerian male footballer in over two decades to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or award.
With an impressive tally of 17 goals in 25 international appearances, Osimhen’s nomination signifies a resurgence for Nigerian football at the highest level.
The last Nigerian to receive this honor was Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.
Osimhen joins the elite list of Nigerian footballers who have received Ballon d’Or nominations, including Finidi George, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Nwankwo Kanu (who received two nominations), Victor Ikpeba, and Sunday Oliseh.
His nomination highlights his remarkable contributions to both Napoli and the Nigerian national team.
Asisat Oshoala’s Remarkable Achievements
On the women’s front, Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala has been nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or women’s player of the year award, marking her second successive nomination.
Oshoala’s journey to this recognition has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Oshoala, who is also the reigning Africa women’s player of the year, had an outstanding season with FC Barcelona Femeni, scoring 21 goals in just 28 games and leading her team to the 2022/23 Spanish league title.
She was the top-scorer for the Spanish club with 27 goals in all competitions and played a crucial role in their triumph in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Moreover, Oshoala made history at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand by becoming the first Nigerian and the first female African player to score at three different editions of the tournament.
Her contributions have been pivotal in securing the Women’s African Cup of Nations three times for the Super Falcons.
Victor Osimhen’s Outstanding Performance
Osimhen’s nomination for the 2023 Ballon d’Or men’s award comes as no surprise.
His remarkable form at Napoli, where he has scored an impressive 62 goals in 103 appearances, has made him one of the best players in Europe.
Last season, Osimhen scored 26 Serie A goals, guiding Napoli to their first Scudetto in over three decades.
He is not only the first African player to achieve this feat but also the highest-scoring African in the Italian top flight, surpassing the legendary Samuel Eto’o’s record.
Competing with seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and a host of other European superstars, Osimhen’s nomination solidifies his status as a footballing icon.
The Awaited Ceremony
Football enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the Ballon d’Or ceremony, set to take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30.
The winners of the Ballon d’Or 2023 will be unveiled on this prestigious day.
What You Should Know
Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala’s nominations for the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards are a testament to their exceptional skills, dedication, and contributions to the world of football.
These two Nigerian stars have made their nation proud and continue to inspire future generations of footballers.
As the footballing world counts down to the ceremony, all eyes will be on Osimhen and Oshoala as they aim for the pinnacle of individual recognition in the sport.