Sports

Algeria boycott CAF awards in support of Mahrez as Osimhen challenges Salah for Best Player honour

The Nigerian international is in the running for his first Player of the Year award while the Liverpool forward edges closer to his third accolade

Algerian football will not be represented when Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen, Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi, and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah go head-to-head for the 2023 CAF Africa Player of the Year award tonight, Soccernet.ng reports.

President of the Algerian Football Federation, Walid Sadi, has declared that Algerians will boycott the CAF Awards ceremony set to be held in Morocco in support of Manchester City forward, who was snubbed from the final three shortlist.

Mahrez won the treble – UEFA Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup – with Pep Guardiola’s men but was not considered among Africa’s three best players.

The former Leicester City winger was an influential player for Manchester City as he contributed 17 goals and 19 assists in all competitions for the champions.
In contrast, Salah made the final draft despite Liverpool going without a trophy during the 2022-23 season.

Morocco defender Hakimi won the French Ligue 1 with PSG and was a crucial member of the Atlas Lions side that reached the semifinal of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar – the first African team to reach that stage.

Osimhen, who will likely be crowned the continent’s best player, won the Scudetto with Napoli and became the first Nigerian to make the Ballon d’Or top ten.

Still, Sadi believes Mahrez should be among the top three nominees, and he made his position clear during a press conference, stating,

“I will not attend the CAF Awards ceremony. I have informed CAF of my decision, and, with the grace of God, no Algerian will be present at this event in solidarity with Riyad Mahrez and the Union Sportive de la Medina d’Alger.”

Osimhen has, however, landed in Morocco ahead of the CAF award ceremony, where he is favourite to become the first Nigerian in 24 years to be named Africa’s Footballer of the Year.