Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, has won the Marc-Vivien Foé RFI-France 24 Prize for best African player in the French Ligue 1, the French football championship for the 2019-2020 season.
The runners up are the Algerian forward Islam Slimani (Monaco) and the Moroccan defender Yunis Abdelhamid (Stade Rennais).
The organisers of the award said Osimhen was chosen by a jury of sport journalistsu specializing in French and African Football.
“He was included in a list of 11 players drafted by RFI’s and France 24’s sports services. They had at heart to highlights this year’s season, which had been full of astonishing performances by African players, before being stopped on March 13 because of the coronavirus crisis.
“This edition of the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize celebrates football, while supporters are temporarily unable to watch or attend games, and the achievements of African players in Ligue 1, some of whom could change championship at the end of the season,” a statement announcing his emergence read.
Osimhen arrived in Ligue 1 in 2019 to replace Nicolas Pépé who left for Arsenal F.C. He quickly became one of the biggest scorers of the French championship.
With 13 goals and 4 assists in 27 games, the Nigerian is amongst the best players of Ligue 1.
At 21, the forward, trained in Lagos, has already played in Germany (VfL Wolfsburg), Belgium (Charleroi), and is now a player of choice in Christophe Galtier’s team.
Osimhen is the fifth Lille player awarded the best African player in Ligue 1 after Gervinho (2010, 2011), Vincent Enyeama (2014), Soflane Boufal (2016), and Nicolas Pépé (2019).
“Since 2011, the best African player in Ligue 1 trophy is named after Marc-Vivien Foé, to honour the Cameroonian player who tragically passed during a game at the Gerland stadium in Lyon on June 26, 2003.
“The award, which is named after the late Cameroonian midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe is organised by Radio France International and France 24,” the statement added.
Osimhen beats a fellow Nigeria, Moses Simon, and eight other African stars to the prestigious award.
Osimhen was named to the squad of the Nigeria under-17 team that won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, where Osimhen won the Golden Boot and Silver Ball awards. His performances also earned him the CAF Youth Player of the Year award in 2015. Osimhen made his senior debut for Nigeria in a 3–0 friendly win over Togo on 1 June 2017.
Osimhen missed out on Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign after his inconsistent season in Wolfsburg.
Following a successful start to his loan spell at Charleroi, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr for the November 2018 international break, starting their friendly win over Uganda.
In March 2019, Osimhen was released from the Super Eagles squad to represent the Nigerian U23 side as they were two goals down against their Libyan opponent. He scored three goals in the return match against Libya in Asaba.
Osimhen was listed in coach Gernot Rohr’s 25-man provisional list for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt and was further listed in the final list for the tournament. In the match for third place, he replaced the injured Odion Ighalo at half-time in the team’s 1–0 victory over Tunisia. He played a total of 45 mins at the tournament.
On 14 August 2019, the coach of the Nigerian National Team, Gernot Rohr, invited Osimhen for a friendly against Ukraine, that was played on 10 September 2019 in Dnipro Arena, Ukraine which ended in a 2–2 draw. He was also included in the Super Eagles team to face Brazil in a friendly match in Singapore on 13 October 2019.