Five Super Stars who were never crowned Africa’s finest


CAF Award


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Victor Osimhen of Nigeria is viewed as the front-runner to be madeAfrican Footballer of the Year on Monday, but the Napoli man undergoes challenge
from Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Paris St-Germain defender Achraf
Hakimi.

Salah who is Egyptcaptain, won the Confederation of African Football (Caf) award in 2017 and 2018
- and was second-best to Sadio Mane in 2019 and 2022 - while
right-back Hakimi performed an important role in Morocco's historic run to the
semi-finals at the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Nevertheless Osimhenwas the highest-ranked African player in the 2023 Men's Ballon d'Or vote,
ending eighth after scoring 26 goals in 2022-23 season to help Napoli to
their first Serie A title in 33 years.

However, should he be ignored,the 24-year-old will connect a long list of famous players who failed to win
the biggest individual prize on the continent of Africa.

BBC Sport Africa outlinessome of the other big names from around the continent who missed out on the prestigious
Caf award.

Jay-Jay Okocha - Nigeria

Observed as one of thebest dribblers in the record of the game, Super Eagles midfield maestro Okocha
made the Caf pick out three times.

Okocha was a key partof Nigeria's golden generation which won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon)
and the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games, defeating Brazil and Argentina on
the way.

Jay Jay's brightest periodwas at the 1998 World Cup in France, stunning with his dribbling skills as
Nigeria departed in the round of 16, but he barely missed out to Morocco's
Mustapha Hadji at the Caf awards in 1998 by just two points.

Okocha was again namedon the shortlist in 2003 and 2004 but ended third on both periods, with
Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o winning the Award regardless of Okocha ending as joint
top scorer and man of the tournament at the 2004 Afcon.

In the meantime, exChelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel finished in second place in 2013 while former-Everton
striker Daniel Amokachi ended off the stage in both 1995 and 1996.

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Michael Essien - Ghana

One more sensationalmidfielder from West Africa, Essien was aggressive in the middle of the park
and had a talent for scoring stunning long-range goals.

Michael Essien wonback-to-back French league titles with Lyon and was named Ligue 1 player of the
year in 2005 prior to joining Chelsea for a then African record fee of 24.4
million pounds.

The retired Ghanainternational turned into a key man for the Chelsea over the path of nearly ten
years at Stamford Bridge, assisting Chelsea fc win two Premier League titles,
four FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012.

Micheal was in the Cafaward shortlist yearly from 2005 to 2009, and ended second following Mali
striker Frederic Kanoute in 2007.

Asamoah Gyan who was Ghana'sall-time leading goalscorer is another prominent name to miss out, ending
behind Eto'o in 2010, while Bayern Munich and Ghana centre-back Samuel Kuffour
was second in both 1999 and 2001.

Mohamed Aboutrika – Egypt

Unpopular Egypt were a relentless force inAfrican football between 2006 and 2010, winning three consecutive Afcon titles.
and Aboutrika was one man at the heart of that all-conquering Pharaohs side.

Aboutrika was anattacking midfielder with an eye for goal, he was productive for his country
and for club side Al Ahly, where he won five African Champions League and four
Caf Super Cup titles.

Mohamed won Caf'sinter-club player of the year award on four occasions, was named in Caf's team of
the year on four occasions and was selected in the Afcon Dream Team two times.

Aboutrika wish not to departhis home country for a career in another place may have affected his chances of
winning the major Caf award, with the nearest he came being a second-place
finish behind Emmanuel Adebayor in 2008.

Pharaohs strikerHossam Hassan also missed out over the course of his two-decade career which made
him win three Afcon titles and ended as top scorer in the 1998 competition.

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Benni McCarthy - South Africa

Combined top scorer atthe 1998 Afcon with seven goals (beside Hassan) and a Champions League winner
with Porto in 2004, McCarthy was one of Africa's most powerful strikers of his
generation.

His link up front withShaun Bartlett made South Africa one of the continent's top sides and he played
at the World Cup in 1998 and 2002.

Though, McCarthymissed out on being picked for the South Africa squads which won the 1996 Afcon
in South Africa and hosted the 2010 World Cup.

Regardless of atrophy-filled career in the Netherlands and Portugal, McCarthy never made it
onto the pick out for the Caf award.

Away in southernAfrica, Christopher Katongo was snubbed in 2012 after leading Zambia to a surprise
Afcon victory - however the forward could comfort himself with being voted the
2012 BBC African Footballer of the year, winning with more than 40% of community
votes.

Seydou Keita -Mali

Seydou was a majorpart of Pep Guardiola's prevailing Barcelona side which won three successive La
Liga titles between 2009 and 2011, having turned into the first Malian to stand
for the Catalan club after joining from Sevilla in 2008.

Keita won theChampions League, Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup with Barcelona fc in 2009
and 2011, and also was incorporated in Caf's team of the year following those victories.

The midfielder wasnamed in second place behind Yaya Toure for the 2011 award, and Seydou went on
to assist Mali to third-place finishes at the 2012 and 2013 versions of Afcon.

Defender KalidouKoulibaly is another West African who has missed out in the personal prize,
which was not awarded in 2020 or 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently with SaudiPro League side Al-Hilal, the centre-back captained Senegal to the Afcon title in
2022 but saw Teranga Lions team-mates Mane and Edouard Mendy on the stage with
Salah in his place.
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