Top African Players Nominated for Puskas Award

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by George Abebe
| 19/12/2021
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Who's scored the most beautiful goal in the previous season? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to soccer, there's a definitive answer to this question. The most beautiful goal is the one whose scorer wins the Puskas Award.

Named after legendary goal-scoring artist Ferenc Puskas, the award has been awarded by FIFA every year since 2009. Twelve players have been awarded the award so far, one of them being from Africa.

The man in question is Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah who won the 2018 Puskas Award for his goal against Everton, which brought Liverpool a 1-0 win.

https://twitter.com/TheKop_com/status/1469094761642401792

This year, Salah could be joined by another African player as two of them have ended up on the shortlist. The players in question are Sandra Owusu-Ansah and Riyad Mahrez.    

The Puskas Award odds still haven't been released at best online sportsbooks in South Africa. However, if they were, the two Africans would probably be among the top favorites.  

2021 Puskas Award Nominees-Who Would You Bet On?

A total of 11 players have made it to the Puskas Award shortlist, including both female and male players from all around the world. The nominees are the following:

  • Luis Diaz (the goal for Colombia against Brazil at Copa America 2021)
  • Gauthier Hein (the goal for Auxerre against Niort in the French Ligue 2)
  • Erik Lamela (the goal for Tottenham against Arsenal in the English Premier League)
  • Valentino Lazaro (the goal for Borussia Monchengladbach against Bayern Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga)
  • Vangelis Pavlidis (the goal for Willem II against Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch Eredivisie)
  • Daniela Sanchez (the goal scored for Queretaro against Atletico San Luis in the Liga MX Femenil Guardianes)
  • Patrick Shick (the goal for the Czech Republic against Scotland at the 2020 Euros)
  • Mehdi Taremi (the goal for Porto against Chelsea in the Champions League)
  • Caroline Weir (the goal for Manchester City against Manchester United in the FA Women's Super League)
  • Riyad Mahrez (the goal for Algeria against Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup on Nations qualifiers)
  • Sandra Owusu-Ansah (the goal for Supreme Ladies against Kumasi Sport in the Ghana Women's Premier League)

The list of nominees was announced by FIFA on November 29, 2021. The same day, online voting started.

The Odds For African Puskas Award Nominees

In the 12 years' long history of the Puskas Award, only 14 African players received a nomination. This includes the two nominated for the 2021 award, Riyad Mahrez and Sandra Owusu-Ansah. The big question is can either of them actually win it?

Riyad Mahrez

It's been a wonderful year for Mahrez, who won the 2020-21 English Premier League with Manchester City this spring. He also helped his national team book a ticket for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. It was on the road to the cup that he scored the goal that got him nominated for the Puskas Award.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg_D5Q4nLEw

Playing for Algeria, Mahrez scored a beauty against Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

Sandra Owusu-Ansah

Currently playing for the champion of the Serbian women's football league, Owusu-Ansah scored her Puskas Award-nominated goal and is one of the most respected ladies players in the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV30eNzJwO8

Still a teenager at the time, she hit a lovely half-volley from some 30 meters which hit the top-left corner of the net.

You Could Also Bet On Worthy Nominees

Mehdi Taremi's goal is definitely among the top favourites for the award. Not only is his bicycle kick a work of art, but the goal set another milestone.

It gave Taremi's Porto a win over Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal. That was Chelsea's only loss in the 2020-21 Champions League, which The Blues then went on to win.

Another worthy nominee is Valentino Lazaro, who scored a scorpion-kick goal for Borussia Monchengladbach against their fierce rivals Bayern Leverkusen.

Then, there's also the goal scored by the former Tottenham player Erik Lamela. The winger scored a skilful rabona against one of Tottenham's fiercest rivals, Arsenal. Unfortunately for Lamela, his goal wasn't enough for his team to win the North London derby but the goal is one that will live on in the memories of both sets of fans.

In addition to one-touch goals, there are also a couple of goals scored by players slicing through the opposition defence. Probably the most notable example is the goal scored by the Auxerre winger Gauthier Hein, who did a slalom in the rival's 16-yard-box before firing the ball in the back on the net.

Looking Forward to the Award Ceremony

You too can take part in the Puskas Award voting. Actually, anyone can. You can vote for your favourites at the official site of FIFA, on the Puskas Award page.  In order to be allowed to cast your vote, the only thing you need is an account with Fifa.com.

The voting has already started and will last a few more weeks. The winner of the 2021 Puskas Award will be revealed on January 17, 2022, at a ceremony organized by FIFA.

Named The Best FIFA Football Awards, the ceremony will take place in Zurich, Switzerland. The event isn't exclusively meant for the Puskas Award but several other awards.

In fact, the most prestigious of those is The Best FIFA Men's Player, which is basically FIFA's version of the Ballon d'Or, an award rewarded by the France Football magazine.

What's interesting is that among the nominees for the award is one African player. The man in question is Mohamed Salah, who's currently among the top 5 favourites at most betting sites in Africa, with the odds in the ballpark of 19.00.

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