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The favourites to win the 2024 African Footballer of the Year

The African Footballer of the Year award is the continent’s biggest individual honour, an award handed to the finest African footballer from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Some of the game’s greats have taken home the prize previously, with Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto’o and George Weah among the multiple winners.

This year’s award looks to be an open race following a memorable Africa Cup of Nations tournament and successful seasons in domestic leagues across the world for several African stars.

For those interested in the latest football odds involving African football, we’ve profiled five players we believe will be in the frame for the 2024 African Footballer of the Year award.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

A two-time winner of the award, Mohamed Salah will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of African Footballer of the Year titles in 2024.

The Egypt international endured a disappointing AFCON tournament as injury prematurely ended his involvement, but has produced another season of goals and assists for Liverpool.

Salah ended 2023-24 with 25 goals and 14 assists in all competitions and a League Cup winner’s medal. He’s had better seasons, no doubt, but we’re judging Salah against Africa’s best footballers and not his own extraordinary standards.

He should be right in the mix.

Serhou Guirassy (Guinea)

Serhou Guirassy went goal-crazy during a brilliant breakout season in the Bundesliga, with Guirassy’s goals turning Stuttgart from relegation candidates to Champions League qualifiers.

Stuttgart survived relegation in a play-off last season but will rub shoulders with Europe’s elite next season after a runners-up finish – above Bayern Munich – in 2023-24.

Guirassy broke the Bundesliga record for goals scored after seven games (13), eclipsing Robert Lewandowski’s landmark of 11 set in both 2019–20 and 2020–21. He ended the campaign with 28 goals in 28 league appearances, finishing as runner-up to Harry Kane for the European Golden Shoe.

Victor Boniface (Nigeria)

Another centre-forward who shone in the Bundesliga this season, Victor Boniface was named the division’s Rookie of the Year after a brilliant debut campaign at Bayer Leverkusen.

Boniface scored 14 goals and laid on eight assists in just 18 league starts, as Leverkusen were crowned champions of Germany for the first time in their history.

Xabi Alonso’s side won the title without losing a single game, becoming the first German team to achieve that feat and just the third side in Europe’s top five leagues to complete an unbeaten season this century. They later beat Kaiserslautern to win the DFB-Pokal to seal a domestic double.

Boniface was brilliant for much of the campaign with only injury preventing his numbers from swelling. He missed the Africa Cup of Nations with an adductor injury.

Ademola Lookman (Nigeria)

What a season it’s been for Ademola Lookman.

One of the brightest lights in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign, the winger was left dejected as the Super Eagles lost to the Ivory Coast in the final.

Fast forward four months and Lookman is celebrating the best moment of his career, having scored a hat-trick in Atalanta’s Europa League final win over Bayer Leverkusen. He became the first player since 1975 to score a hat-trick in the final of a major European competition, after a terrific treble in his side’s 3-0 win in Dublin.

The victory earned Atalanta a first trophy in 61 years and concluded a wonderful campaign for Lookman, who scored 15 goals in all competitions for the Italian side.

Ayoub El Kaabi (Morocco)

Ayoub El Kaabi is another African who has thrived in European competition this season. The Moroccan signed for Olympiacos from Al Saad on a free transfer last summer and has enjoyed a sensational season in the Greek capital.

El Kaabi has scored 33 goals in all competitions for Olympiacos, including 11 in just nine Europa Conference League games as José Luis Mendilibar’s side became the first Greek team to win a European trophy. His contribution included a semi-final hat-trick against Aston Villa and the crucial winner in the final against Fiorentina, held in Athens.

No player has ever scored more goals in the knockout rounds of a European competition (11), with El Kaabi eclipsing Radamel Falcao, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. His football might not have come on the biggest stage, but his season has been exceptional.

Read – Appreciating Ayoub El Kaabi’s record-breaking Conference League campaign

See more – Iconic Performances: Liverpool’s Egyptian King destroys old friends from Rome

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