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Gusau hails Nigeria’s big win at 2023 CAF Awards

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President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau was a very happy man on Monday night, as Nigeria swept important honours at this year’s CAF Football Awards .

The NFF supremo was personally present at the Hotel Movenpick and collected the first honour that came Nigeria’s way – Women’s National Team of the Year<span.

He dedicated the award to all women football teams on the African continent.

Chiamaka Nnadozie, who shone brightly at the FIFA World Cup finals in Down Under this year summer as the Super Falcons reached the Round of 16, was the undoubted winner of the honour of Goalkeeper of the Year (Women).The Paris FC of France safe hands made a moving speech: “To all the young girls growing up in Africa, dreaming of becoming a footballer one day, believe me dreams do come true. My dad didn’t want me to play football but I’m sure he’s gonna see this and be happy. So, keep dreaming, keep working and I believe that one day you’ll get to this stage.”

After Asisat Oshoala won a record-extending sixth award as Player of the Year (Women)<span;>, the auditorium went silent as it was time to present the men’s version. Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen, Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah were the final three.

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Osimhen was crowned, becoming the first Nigeria player in 24 years to take the gong. The last person was Nwankwo Kanu, back in 1999. Kanu also won in 1996, after Rashidi Yekini in 1993 and Emmanuel Amuneke in 1994. Victor Ikpeba took the crown in 1997.

Gusau said: “I am very excited tonight. This has been hugely rewarding for our football and for our country as a whole. I congratulate Osimhen, Oshoala and Nnadozie, and I congratulate the Super Falcons as a team for bringing us this honour.

My charge would be that they all keep doing what they know how to do best, keep improving and keep winning. The sky will be the beginning for them.”

Osimhen became the first player in the history of the African Football Awards to have been crowned Player of the Year (Men) after having pocketed the Young Player of the Year (Men) in an earlier year. Only last Monday, the 24-year-old was crowned the 2022/2023 Player of the Year in Italy’s Serie A, after having won the Young Player of the Year in the same league in the 2021/2022 season.

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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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