Kanu, Yekini, Ikpeba… Nigerians who have won CAF Men’s Player of the Year Award (see list)

 Kanu, Yekini, Ikpeba… Nigerians who have won CAF Men’s Player of the Year Award (see list)

Following Victor Osimhen’s recent victory as the first Nigeria in 24 years to win the CAF (Confederation of African Football) Men’s Player of the Year award, crispng presents the complete list of Nigerian male players who have received the most prestigious individual award in African football since it’s inception in 1992.

Take a look at the list below:


After he had an incredible goal-scoring season for both club and country in 1993, the late Super Eagles striker became the first Nigerian footballer and second African player to win the coveted African Player of the Year award.

Yekini 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 top division.

He also scored crucial goals for Nigeria during the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers which helped him to win the CAF Award. He will always be remembered as the person that scored Nigeria’s first ever world Cup goal and he is also Nigeria’s all time goalscorer.


The former Super Eagles winger won the African Footballer of the Year award after Yekini, thanks to his incredible performances for Sporting CP of Portugal and El Zamalek of Egypt, and his heroics during Nigeria’s victory at the 1994 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

In 1994, during Nigeria’s first FIFA World Cup campaign in the United States America, Amuneke scored goals for the Super Eagles against Bulgaria and Italy.

Amunike secured 27 Super Eagles caps during his playing days, scoring nine goals. He was part of the Nigerian team that participated at the 1994 FIFA World Cup which was their first ever scoring against Bulgaria and Italy. He assisted the Super Eagles in winning the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, and ultimately winning the African Footballer of the Year award.

NWANKWO KANU: 1996 and 1999

At the time of writing this article, Kanu is still the only Nigerian player to win the CAF African Footballer of the Year award twice and he achieved the feat in 1996 and 1999 seasons.

He was an integral part of Ajax’s 1995 UEFA Champions League winning team, and in 1996, Papilo (as his fans call him) moved to Inter Milan, Nevertheless, it was his heroics in leading Nigeria to the Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold medal—along with his unforgettable brace against Brazil in the semifinal comeback victory—that truly contributed to his 1996 CAF top award win.

Kanu moved to Arsenal in February 1999, where he resurrected his football career, having overcome a cardiac condition that threatened to end his career. His greatest moment of the season was his 17-minute hat-trick in the Gunners’ 3-2 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which played a major part in earning him his second CAF award.

“The Golden Boy”of Nigerian football performed admirably for the Eagles during the 2000 African Cup of Nations qualifiers as well.

He is one of the few footballers to have won an Olympic gold medal in addition to the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, and UEFA Cup. He made 118 appearance from the bench innocently acquiring the record of the third-most substitute appearances in English Premier League history and is considered one of the greatest players in African football history.


After his achievements for club and country, Ikpeba—fondly referred to by Nigerian football fans as “The Prince of Monaco”—was named Africa’s best player in 1997. Ikpeba took league by storm when he scored 13 goals for Monaco as his team won the French league 1. Ikpeba played for Monaco in the 1996–1997 UEFA Cup also, where he finished as the second highest goalscorer behind Maurizio Ganz’s who scored 8 goals.


Victor Osimhen is the latest name to join the elites list of Nigerians that have won the CAF Men’s Player of the Year award. He was rewarded with the award after a successful 2022 /23 season with Napoli in which he was instrumental as the Italian club won their first league title in over 30 years and he finished top of the  goalscorers chat in seria A.

The striker was also very instrumental to the Nigerian national team scoring 10 goals (highest by an player in the qualifier) as the Super Eagles booked their place in AFCON 2024 in Ivory Coast.

The 24-year-old faced off competitions from Achraf Hakimi of Morocco and Mohamed Salah of Egypt to clinch Nigeria’s first CAF Men’s player of the year award since Kanu Nwankwo in 1999.

See also: Man City’s first UCL, Messi’s 8th Ballon D’or… Unforgettable football moments of 2023

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