"An African Farce" - this is how Algerian newspapers and media outlets titled it after the exclusion of the star Riyad Mahrez, the winger for the national team and Al-Ahli Saudi Club, from the final list of the Best Player on the continent award.
The African football governing body chose the trio: Egypt's Mohamed Salah from Liverpool, Morocco's Achraf Hakimi from Paris Saint-Germain, and Nigeria's Victor Osimhen from Napoli, to compete in the final for the annual award, officially won by the latter on Monday evening.
The omission of Mahrez from the Best African Player award for 2023 sparked significant controversy in global sports circles, especially after his outstanding season with Manchester City in the previous season before moving to Al-Ahli during the current summer.
Riyad Mahrez's Stats
The Algerian star achieved the historic treble of the English Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League in the last sports season with Manchester City.
Mahrez played in 47 official matches in various competitions with the English giant in the 2022-2023 season, totaling 3,068 minutes.
He successfully netted 15 goals, comprising 5 in league matches and 3 in the Champions League, while also contributing with 13 assists before making the decision to transfer to Saudi Arabia.
While representing the Algerian national team in 2023, Mahrez took part in 10 matches, securing victories in 7 instances and drawing in 3, during which he scored 2 goals and played a role in 5 additional goals through assists.
In the current sports season - until now - Mahrez has scored 7 goals and provided the same number of assists in 17 official matches with the first football team of Al-Ahli Club.
Victor Osimhen's Stats
As for the winner of the Best Player in Africa award for the current year, Nigerian Victor Osimhen led Napoli to achieve a historic milestone by winning the Italian Serie A 2022-2023 title after a 33-year absence.
Osimhen achieved a remarkable tally of 26 goals in 32 appearances throughout the previous season in the Italian league, and a grand total of "31 goals in 39 games" across different tournaments, accompanied by 5 assists.
During the current season, the Nigerian star scored 6 goals and assisted 2 others in 14 official matches, while his numbers with his country’s national team were exactly like Riyad Mahrez.