Borussia Dortmund full-back Achraf Hakimi has been rewarded for some outstanding performances with a nomination for the 2019 CAF African Player of the Year award.
The Real Madrid-owned Morocco international enjoyed a strong first season in the Bundesliga in 2018/19, and he has enhanced his reputation further this term by scoring four goals in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The 21-year-old proved a key player as Dortmund came up just short in the title race last season, with his marauding runs from either right or left-back causing havoc for opposition defences.
Hakimi has been even more effective in 2019/20, scoring six times in all competitions so far. He added to Bundesliga goals against Cologne and Freiburg with two matchwinning performances in the Champions League to give his side a strong chance of making the last 16.
In October, he was devastating on the counter attack down both flanks in the Czech Republic, scoring a goal in each half to earn Dortmund a 2-0 victory over Slavia Prague. Earlier this month he had a stunning impact at home to Inter Milan, netting twice the day after his 21st birthday as BVB came from two goals down at half-time to win 3-2.
The pacy defender first gave Lucien Favre’s side hope with a fine finish six minutes after the restart and then – linking up brilliantly with Jadon Sancho – he slotted home the winner 13 minutes from time on one of the great European nights in Dortmund.
Part of Morocco’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad, Hakimi is now in contention to be named African Player of the Year at the Confederation of African Football’s annual awards ceremony, which will be held in Egypt on 7 January.
Arsenal’s former Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Liverpool’s ex-RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita are also among the 30 players from around the continent who are in the running for the prize. Former Wolfsburg attacker Victor Osimhen, now at Lille, and ex-Hamburg, Mainz and Schalke striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, are also nominated for the award.
Photo Credit: © Huebner/Hufnagel via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Jan Huebner