Two standout Cameroonian footballers, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Frank Anguissa) and Vincent Aboubakar, have been named among the nominees for the prestigious CAF 2023 Player of the Year (Men) award. Their outstanding performances both at the club and national team level have earned them this well-deserved recognition on the African football stage.
Frank Anguissa: A Midfield Maestro
Frank Anguissa, who plied his trade as a midfielder, has been a key figure for his former club, Fulham FC, in the English Premier League. His contributions in midfield were pivotal to Fulham’s successes during his time at the club. Anguissa’s technical skills, ability to control the midfield, and versatility have made him a standout performer.
On May 26, 2022, Napoli purchased Zambo Anguissa’s rights from Fulham. His move to the Serie A powerhouse opened a new chapter in his career. On September 7, he scored his first Champions League goal in a 4-1 win over Liverpool. This remarkable achievement in Europe’s premier club competition highlighted his growing influence on the international stage. On October 1, he continued to make waves by scoring his first Serie A goal, netting a brace in a 3-1 win over Torino. At the end of the season, Zambo Anguissa and Napoli accomplished a historic feat, winning the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years, a testament to his contributions to the team’s success.
The CAF 2023 Player of the Year (Men) award is highly coveted and considered one of the most prestigious individual accolades in African football. The nominees, including Anguissa and Aboubakar, will be eagerly competing for this honour, with the winner set to be announced at the CAF Awards ceremony in January 2023.
Vincent Aboubakar: A Striker’s Prowess
Vincent Aboubakar, on the other hand, is a formidable striker who has been a goal-scoring machine for both his club, Al-Nassr, and the Cameroonian national team. Aboubakar has consistently found the back of the net, and his clinical finishing, agility, and physical presence have terrorised defences in the Saudi Professional League. His contributions helped Al-Nassr secure domestic success, and his national team qualified for major tournaments.
On 21 January 2023, Abubakar re-signed with Turkish club Beşiktaş as a replacement for departing striker Wout Weghorst. The 2½-year deal involved a €1.1 million signing bonus and €1.5 million for the 2022–23 season, and €3.1 million per season for the remaining seasons, in addition to a maximum of €12,000 per match depending on the duration and type of competition.
Aboubakar received a call-up to the Cameroon national under-20 football team for the Francophone Games in Beirut on August 18, 2009. He became an ever-present member of the squad until 2019 when he was not called up.
Aboubakar’s absence from Cameroon’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations squad was notable. Manager Clarence Seedorf expressed doubts about his fitness, considering his recent return from a long-term injury.
Aboubakar made a triumphant return to the national team for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, hosted by his country at the start of the following year. He played a pivotal role, scoring five group-stage goals against Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde. These exceptional performances were followed by a sixth goal in a 2-1 win over Comoros in the last 16. In the third-place match against Burkina Faso, Aboubakar displayed his prowess once again, scoring twice in a thrilling 3–3 draw, which was eventually won on penalties. With 8 goals in 7 games, he emerged as the tournament’s top scorer and rightfully earned a spot in the Team of the Tournament.
In the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Aboubakar continued to shine, scoring a goal and providing an assist in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Serbia. His goal was described as an “outrageous scoop” by BBC Sport, showcasing his remarkable skills. He further etched his name in football history by scoring the winning goal against Brazil in the third match. However, he received his second yellow card for removing his shirt during the celebration, leading to his being sent off.
Aboubakar is currently the third-highest scorer in the history of the Cameroonian national team, standing behind legendary forwards Roger Milla with 43 goals and Samuel Eto’o with 56 goals. His outstanding contributions for both club and country highlight his status as one of Africa’s premier football talents, and his nomination for the CAF 2023 Player of the Year award is well-deserved.
Both Anguissa and Aboubakar were vital cogs in the Cameroonian national team’s journey to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final, where they displayed their exceptional skills and teamwork. Although Cameroon did not win the AFCON in 2022, their performances in the tournament showcased their talent and determination.
Fierce Competition Among the Continent’s Finest
The other nominees for the CAF 2023 Player of the Year award include some of the continent’s finest talents, making the competition fierce. African football fans eagerly await the announcement of the winner to see if Frank Anguissa or Vincent Aboubakar will join the ranks of previous legends who have earned this recognition.
Regardless of the outcome, Frank Anguissa and Vincent Aboubakar have already secured their places in the annals of African football history with their remarkable contributions and nominations for this prestigious award.