Will Osimhen pip Salah, Hakimi? Oshoala to win another POTY at CAF Awards?

Klopp hails 'incredible' Salah after 200th Liverpool goal (0:57)

Jurgen Klopp reacts to Liverpool's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace and praises Mohamed Salah. (0:57)

The world of African football will honour the continent's star performers from the past 12 months during Monday's glittering awards ceremony in Marrakech, Morocco.

Luminaries such as Samuel Eto'o, Jay-Jay Okocha and El Hadji Diouf will in attendance as the continent looks back over 12 months that included some magnificent team displays - beginning with Morocco at the Qatar World Cup - and some remarkable performances by Africa's top stars.

Before CAF announce their winners on Monday, ESPN have had a go at predicting each category for the continent's top prizes.

Player of the Year (Men)

Will a Nigerian be crowned men's African Footballer of the Year for the first time since 1999? Considering all that Victor Osimhen has achieved since November 2022, you wouldn't put it past him!

The forward wrote history when he inspired Napoli to the Italian title, ending their 33-year wait for a Scudetto and emulating the talismanic impact of his predecessor at Naples - Diego Maradona - in the process.

When Osimhen arrived in Italy from LOSC Lille, then-Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick ambitiously vowed that the striker would surpass Maradona's impact at Napoli...although few truly imagined that the Partenopei would be Italian champions within three years.

Osimhen was the star performer in that side, netting 26 goals in 32 outings to clinch the Serie A Golden Boot, becoming the first Napoli star since Gonzalo Higuain in 2016 to do so.

He set a new standard for Africans in Italy, overtaking George Weah as the top scoring player from the continent in Serie A history, while Osimhen also pipped Samuel Eto'o to become the highest African scorer in a single Italian campaign.

He was honoured by the Italian Football Association as their Footballer of the Year, and was also ranked eighth in the 2023 Ballon d'Or. For context, no Nigerian player has ever featured as highly in the prestigious rankings.

The significance of Osimhen's contribution in one of the world's major leagues, the extent to which his goals led to a historic title triumph surely set him apart from his African peers and make him the outright favourite for the big one.

Fellow nominee Mohamed Salah still ended the Premier League season with 19 goals in 38, but it was a year of transition for trophy-less Liverpool. Instead, the main challenge for Osimhen may well come from Paris Saint-Germain fullback Achraf Hakimi.

While his compatriot Yassine Bounou - not among the final three POTY nominees - arguably outshone Hakimi both at the World Cup and in club competition, the rightback would doubtless be a popular choice among the attendees in Marrakech.

He was excellent during the Atlas Lions' historic run to the World Cup semifinal - don't underestimate how influential this showing will be when the final votes are cast - and won the Ligue 1 title with PSG. However, Hakimi wasn't entirely convincing during the campaign, despite being included in the French Team of the Year.

Player of the Year (Women)

Having won both the Champions League and the Spanish title with Barcelona, Asisat Oshoala appears to be the overwhelming favourite to retain her title.

She scored four in Europe to win her second continental crown - clearly enjoying herself in the quarterfinal victory over Manchester City - and finished third in the Liga F scoring charts.

Racheal Kundnananji - who scored more than Oshoala - can feel hard done by to have missed out on the final three, although her compatriot Barbra Banda appears to be the Nigerian's toughest competition.

Banda was cleared to play in the World Cup after a controversial gender ruling, and while she netted just once in New Zealand, her form for Shanghai Shengli has been sensational. Don't expect her to deny Oshoala a sixth gong, however.

National Team[s] of the Year - Morocco x2

For their achievements in Qatar; escaping a tough group, dispatching some heavyweights, breaking new ground for the continent on the grandest stage. This one's a no contest for the Atlas Lions.

Don't be surprised to see Morocco get a clean sweep here. The Atlas Lionesses built on their promising 2022 by featuring at their maiden World Cup and - despite being ranked 76th in the world when the draw was made - sneaking into the knockouts ahead of Germany and South Korea.

The character they demonstrated two pick up consecutive victories despite that opening 6-0 humbling by DFB-Frauenteam was admirable.

Club of the Year (Men)

Al-Ahly should have this one wrapped up given their domestic dominance under Marcel Koller and their third CAF Champions League success in the last four campaigns. Wydad Casablanca, who failed in both the Botola and the Moroccan Cup, are curious inclusions in the final three.

Club of the Year (Women)

Mamelodi Sundowns secured a treble during the period in question, with successes in their domestic top flight and the COSAFA Champions League being topped off by the 2023 Champions League crown. Their 100-percent record in the CAF CL has set the standard for all would-be champions who follow in their footsteps.

Young Player of the Year (Men)

Expect a Senegal one-two here, with Lamine Camara likely to eclipse his compatriot Amara Diouf. The latter dazzled at the U-17 AFCON - and his day will come - but Camara is a worthy successor to his compatriot (and new midfield partner for Senegal) Pape Sarr, following a true breakout campaign.

He won both the African Nations Championship and the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations, being named Player of the Tournament in the second competition, and has settled well since following in Sarr's footsteps at Metz.

Young Player of the Year (Women)

Ghana are sparsely represented at these awards, but Comfort Yeboah looks like a genuine contender for this prize, potentially at Deborah Abiodun's expense. She was one of the revelations of the Champions League, with her two-goal display to down reigning champions AS FAR one of the outstanding individual displays of the tournament.

Abiodun of Nigeria perhaps didn't reach these heights, but her showing at the Women's World Cup - despite only being 19 - is testament to how highly she's rated in Super Falcons circles.

Goal of the Year

African football fans have a tough decision to make as they vote for goal of the year, with competition intense among the 12-wondergoal shortlist.

Teboho Mokoena's thunderous effort for Sundowns against Al-Ahly will get you off your seat, but my personal favourite is Mahmoud Saber's first-time effort from 30 years, using the fleeing referee as a decoy, in the U-23 AFCON final.

It would have been a strike worthy to have won the tournament, even if Egypt ultimately fell short in extra time.

Goalkeeper of the Year (Men)

Unfortunate to have missed the POTY shortlist, Yassine Bounou is the overwhelming favourite. The Sevilla stopper was outstanding during the World Cup - comfortable surpassing Édouard Mendy as Africa's top goalkeeper - and then ended the season with a second Europa League crown.

Mohamed El Shenawy is a worthy runner-up after his performances across the CAF Champions League final, and he also registered over 30 clean sheets during Ahly's successful season.

Goalkeeper of the Year (Women)

All three of Chiamaka Nnadozie, Khadija Er-Rmichi and Andile Dlamini made some significant saves en route to the knockouts at the Women's World Cup earlier this year, but we're giving the Nigerian stopper the edge.

Nnadozie kept three clean sheets in four matches during the tournament, while her save percentage put her in the top five keepers present, with a penalty stop against Canada being a highlight.

At club level, only Christiane Endler registered more clean sheets in the Division 1 Feminine, although voters may be impressed by Dlamini's star turn for Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League.

Coach of the Year (Men)

Walid Regragui of Morocco should be the undisputed victor. Not only was he the mastermind behind the Atlas Lions' run to the World Cup semis - dispatching Spain and Portugal on the way - but he was also responsible for instilling the North Africans with spirit, unity and character.

He set the example for his charges with a measured passion, while his tactical approach got the best out of a side who had looked less than the sum of their parts at the Nations Cup.

Coach of the Year (Women)

A tough contest between Reynald Pedros (Morocco), Jerry Tshabalala (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Desiree Ellis (South Africa).

Last year's winner Ellis appears to be the outsider, with Tshabalala masterminding Sundowns' treble campaign, and Pedros breaking new ground with the Atlas Lionesses. The former France international has surely overseen the greatest improvement in a single team, with Morocco marking their maiden World Cup by reaching the knockouts.