The Confederation of African Football (CAF) unveiled on Wednesday the preliminary nominee lists for its 2023 Awards, with Moroccan Footballers shining bright in each list.
The CAF announced the footballers nominated for the Best Players, showcasing 7 Moroccan players dominating the distinguished list.
The Moroccan football players nominated to the prestigious CAF Awards 2023 are Paris Saint-Germain right-wingback Achraf Hakimi, Marseille player Azzedine Ounahi, Turkish Galatasaray player Hakim Ziyech, Manchester player Sofyan Amrabat, Wydad Athletic player Yahya Jabrane, Saudi Al Hilal goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, and the Spanish Seville player Youssef En-Nesyri.
The Moroccan national team is competing for the Best African national team for the year 2023 with the national teams of Senegal –which is an African champion, Guinea, Bissau, Gambia, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, Namibia, and Mozambique.
Morocco is a strong contender for the award, especially after securing fourth place in the recent FIFA World Cup, which was held in Qatar at the end of 2022. This remarkable achievement established the Atlas Lions’ team as the first African and Arab team to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
As to the Coach of the Year award, Walid Regrargui is competing with Swiss Marcel Kohler, coach of Al-Ahly of Egypt, Algerian Abdelhak Benchikha (USM Alger), and Aliou Cisse (national team of Senegal) and Pape Thiaw (the coach of a Senegalese club), alongside other five coaches.
For the Best Club in the Year nominated for Africa Award 2023, the CAF revealed the 10 football teams. Among the 10 clubs, the list included two Moroccan clubs, namely Raja Casablanca and Wydad Casablanca.
Yassine Bounou, the 3rd best goalkeeper in the world, is also nominated for the Best Goalkeeper for the Year in Africa Awards 2023. Bounou will be competing with the Moroccan Youssef Al Motie—who plays for Wydad Casablanca—along with other goalkeepers, most of whom are not from North Africa.
It is the first time that CAF included the CAF African Goalkeeper of the Year Category (Men and Women) in the prestigious event that seeks to recognize and reward exceptional players, according to CAF’s official statement.
As to the Young Player of the Year award, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, and Bilal El Khannouss are the only Moroccans and North African players nominated for it.
In the Interclub Player of the Year list, Yahia Attiyat Allah, Yahya Jabrane, and Youssef El Motie are the Moroccans nominated for this award and they are competing with 3 Algerian football players, 4 Egyptians, 2 Tunisians, 2 Congolese, 3 South Africans, one Malian, and one Namibian.
The preliminary list for the various categories was compiled by a panel of CAF Technical Experts, African Football Legends, and selected media representatives from a number of countries, with the performance of the nominees between November 2022 and September 2023 serving as the period under consideration, according to CAF official statement.
The CAF Awards ceremony is set to take place on December 11 in Marrakech, according to a post on their X official account.
“Morocco is ready to celebrate the Pride of African Football,” says the tweet.
30 players were nominated for the CAF African Player of the Year award, while 20 were nominated for the CAF Interclub Player of the Year award. CAF National Team of the Year, Club of the Year, and Coach of the Year each have 10 nominees, as does CAF Young Player of the Year – for players under the age of 21.
Nominees will be selected based on their performance from September 2022 to June 2023.
The overall winner of each category will be determined by a voting panel comprised of CAF Technical Committee members, media professionals, Head Coaches, and Captains of Member Associations, and clubs participating in the group stages of the Interclub competitions.