Onuachu’s Belgian award may pave way to becoming African Footballer of the Year

Onuachu’s Belgian award may pave way to becoming African Footballer of the Year
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Super Eagles’ in-form striker, Paul Onuachu may be on his way to being named the African Footballer of the Year in succession to Senegal’s Sadio Mane.

The Genk forward was on Monday named as Belgian Jupiler Pro League Professional Footballer of the Year as well as the Golden Shoe Award winner.

The magical scorer  put in 33 goals and provided five assists in the Belgian league which has often provided the stepping stone for stars to get into the bigger European leagues.

He has made a quiet, but emphatic entry into the Super Eagles’ greats. Sports Village Square recalls that his goal against Benin Republic last March in  put an end to Super Eagles’ 497-day of winless outings and also created the current logjam involving Benin Republic and Sierra Leone in the last qualifying slot for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

But for the goal he scored in the last of the four-minute added time, the Sierra Leone-Benin match would not have had value as Benin would have joined Nigeria in qualifying.

Onuachu’s goal also inflicted the first home defeat on Benin since June 2013. In his debut, a friendly match with Egypt in Asaba, Onuachu scored his first ever goal for Nigeria as he on 26 March 2019 .

The goal inflicted Nigeria’s first defeat on Egypt in 29 years. But more significant was the timing of the goal.

 Paul Onuachu within eight seconds of kick-off undoubtedly entered the record books as the second fastest goal in international football records.

the strike was the second fastest goal in international goal after Lukas Podolsk’s, with the German striker netting after six seconds in a friendly against Ecuador in 2013.

Fans had hardly settled down for the match when Onuachu released a thunderous shot that turned to be the match’s decider.

Onuachu’s feat is coming at a time most African stars in European top leagues appeared to have dipped in goal-scoring form thus putting him, along with compatriot, Kelechi Iheanachor in prime positions for possible African Footballer of the Year award.

Iheanachor who suddenly this season rediscovered his form has scored 19 goals across all competitions in 38 appearances for Leicester.

 At a time, making the number 14-shirted player having a 14-consecutive appearance for the Premiership club scored his 14th goal.

It has been been 22 years since a Nigerian player won the title. The last Nigerian winner was Nwankwo Kanu for the year 1999 and was crowned in January 2000 on the pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos, just before the kick-off of the Nigeria versus Tunisia Africa Cup of Nations  opening match.

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Mayowa Akinsola

    Is he the first Nigerian player to emerge as the best player in a Eoropean League?

    Reply

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