Nigeria and Barcelona talisman Asisat Oshoala has been named the 2022 African Women’s Player of the Year while Senegal and FC Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane was also named as the winner of the men’s version of the award at the CAF Awards ceremony in Rabat on Thursday night.
The 27-year-old Oshoala picked the award ahead of Ajara Nchout Njoya (Cameroon and Inter Milan) and Zambia international Grace Chanda (Zambia and BIIK Kazygurt), while Mane, 30, picked up his prize ahead of Egypt and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Senegal and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Oshoala has now become the first African to win this prestigious award for a record five times, overtaking her countrywoman Perpetua Nkwocha who claimed the accolade on four occasions. She is also the fourth Nigerian to land the award, following in the footsteps of Mercy Akide (2001), Nkwocha (2004, 2005, 2010 & 2011) and the incredible Cynthia Uwak (2006 & 2007).
It is Mane’s second African Player of the Year title, making him the fifth African after El Hadji Diouf, Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, and Salah to win the award in consecutive years since CAF took over the distribution of the award in 1992.
The 2021-22 campaign was arguably Oshoala’s best yet as she played a key role in her Spanish side’s treble charge – the Spanish Women’s Super Cup, Copa de la Reina and the Primera Division.
Although, Oshiala missed some games due to injury, that did not stop her from emerging as the Spanish topflight division’s joint-top scorer after netting 20 goals in 19 league appearances to share the award with Brazilian Geyse Ferreira, who managed the same number of goals in 27 appearances for Madrid CFF.
Barcelona could have won a quadruple, but lost 3-1 to Olympique Lyonnais in the Champions League final at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.
Mane, meanwhile, enjoyed a superb 2021-22 season with Liverpool before heading for Bayern Munich in a €41 million transfer, helping the Reds win the English FA Cup and Carabao Cup as well as playing a crucial role in their Champions League runners-up finish.
He scored 16 Premier League goals, two in the FA Cup and five in the Champions League. Overall, he accounted for 33 goals and five assists in the period in review.
On the international scene, Mane propelled Senegal to win their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title, even scoring the crucial penalty that downed Egypt in the final after a 0-0 draw through 120 minutes.
Mane was also named AFCON player of the tournament after contributing three goals and two assists.
His contributions were also key in helping Senegal qualify for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.