By Ebenezer Bajela
Super Eagles and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has been nominated for the latest edition of The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The list, which was released by the world football governing body on Thursday, had the Nigerian striker, Andre Onana (Cameroon) and Yassine Bounou (Morocco) as the only Africans nominated.
The qualifying period for the prize is between December 19, 2022 and August 10, 2023, with nominees including Argentine megastar Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
Within this period, Osimhen has scored 29 goals while helping Napoli to win the Serie A title for the first time in over three decades.
The Nigerian is the third top scorer in the 2023 calendar, behind Haaland (35) and Mbappe (30).
England’s Declan Rice is also shortlisted for the FIFA prize, alongside Manchester City Treble winners Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Alvarez.
Lionesses Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Lauren James and Keira Walsh have been nominated for the women’s award.
World Cup Golden Ball winner Aitana Bonmati joins them on the list, alongside fellow world champions Jennifer Hermoso, Mapi Leon and Salma Paralluelo.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes and England manager Sarina Wiegman have been put up for the women’s coach award, though Jorge Vilda is absent from the list.
Ange Postecoglou is nominated for the best men’s coach award, alongside Pep Guardiola, Simone Inzaghi, Luciano Spalletti and Xavi.
England’s Mary Earps is one of six stoppers nominated for the women’s goalkeeper award and will be up against Catalino Coll of Barcelona and Chelsea’s Zecira Musovic.
Champions League final goalkeepers Ederson and Andre Onana will be at loggerheads again for the men’s award, with Thibaut Courtois, Yassine Bounou and Marc-Andre ter Stegen also in the hunt.
The nominees for the Puskas Award will be announced September 21.
Voting for all individual awards will open on Thursday, September 14 and close on Friday, October 6.
Meanwhile, for the first time in almost two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo was not nominated for the FIFA Best Players award.
The Portuguese was also not listed for the Ballon d’Or award, which does take into account performances at the 2022 World Cup.