Arsenal's Alex Iwobi named CAF Youth Player of the Year

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi named CAF Youth Player of the Year

Arsenal and Nigeria's Alex Iwobi has been named Africa's best young player of 2016, after a stellar breakthrough year.

James Eagles

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi has been named the CAF's Youth Player of the Year for 2016 - a year in which the Nigerian international announced his arrival in the Gunners' first team.

Iwobi, 20, beat names such as Eric Ayiah, Sandra Owusu Ansah, Sidiki Maiga and rumoured Arsenal target Frank Kessie to claim the award, the first individual honour of his professional career.

The winger opted to represent the country of his birth, Nigeria, over England at international level, and has already made eight caps for the Super Eagles. The award is a fine end to a year that saw Iwobi establish his place in the Arsenal first team. Not only that, but the talented youngster was awarded his Champions League debut against Barcelona in March at the Camp Nou, and impressed.

His compatriot and fellow Premier League talent, Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City was named the continent's most promising player, whilst Leicester City's Algerian wonder Riyad Mahrez beat both Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Borussia Dortmund's hotshot Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the main prize.

Arsenal had double cause for celebration, with Asisat Oshoala being crowned Africa's best female player for the calendar year.

Quite the year for Iwobi

Iwobi scored his first professional goal for Arsenal in the Premier League against Everton in March - a match that also marked his first league start. He followed that up with a goal against Watford in the following fixture. The Nigerian has also started this season in fine fettle, scoring three goals in 24 appearances, whilst also boasting three assists to his name.

He expressed his delight through a message on Twitter, saying he was "honoured" to have received the award, and hoped for "more success in the future".

Iwobi reinforced his previous contract to a £25,000 per week deal in April, but a further improved contract is said to be in the pipeline.