Nigeria’s Onuachu Wins Belgian League Footballer Of The Year And Golden Boot Awards

Paul Onuachu

 

Super Eagles striker, Paul Onuachu, has won the Best Player and Golden Bull (highest scorer) awards in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, capping off an insanely remarkable campaign that saw him score 33 goals and provide three assists for KRC Genk who finished second on the log.

The 26-year-old bagged the prize on Monday night at the Belgian Pro League Awards traditional gala held at the JAM Hotel in Brussels following a stunning 2020/2021 campaign in which he featured in 38 league matches and play-offs.

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“Paul Onuachu can call himself the Professional Footballer of the Jupiler Pro League for a year,” the league wrote on its website.

“The KRC Genk striker was voted as the best player of the past season by his colleagues. Onuachu scored 33 times last season, making him the player with the most goals behind his name.”

The imposing striker, who made headlines all season, bulldozed his way to the awards after beating Club Brugge’s Noa Lang and Beerschot’s forward Raphael Holzhauser.

He is also in contention for the Ebony Shoe Award for the Best Player of African descent in the league where he will battle Congolese-born Belgian striker, Theo Batombo Bonganda; Angola’s Club Brugge defender, Clinton Mata; Anderlecht’s Anglo-Nigerian forward, Lukas Nmecha and Congolese-born Belgian star, Sambi Lokonga, who features for Anderlecht.

Onuachu, who formerly played for FC Midtjylland, netted 35 goals in 41 games across all competitions for the Blue-White, pushing them to lift the Belgian Cup in spectacular fashion.

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Before now, he was voted into the Belgian Pro League Team of the Season alongside a teammate, Bryan Heymen.

Gunning For Gold

The Nigerian joined the Belgian outfit from Midtjylland for a fee of €7million and his sizzling form has seen him linked with a move away from the Luminus Arena with a host of top European sides set to jostle for his signature when the transfer window opens this summer.

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr will be banking on the scoring prowess of the Ebonyi-born striker when Nigeria take on bitter rivals, Cameroon in a friendly match billed for June 4th in Vienna, Austria.

 

Onuachu is the leading scorer in the Belgian Jupiler League. Photo: [email protected] Eagles.

 

Since making his debut for the three-time African champions in 2019, Onuachu has scored three goals for Nigeria, including his maiden strike against Egypt in a friendly game that earned him the fastest goal scorer tag for the Eagles.

He is also expected to play a prominent role for Nigeria in next year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON), a tournament he said the team is aiming to go the whole haul.

“We will just have to go there and take the gold,” he told NFF TV after scoring the lone goal against the Benin Republic in a qualification match for the competition.

2022 AFCON: We Have To Go There And Take The Gold – Onuachu

Onuachu is the leading scorer in the Belgian Jupiler League. Photo: [email protected] Super Eagles.

 

Super Eagles forward Paul Onuachu says the team’s mission at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is to win the trophy after the Nigerian side made it to the competition on Saturday. 

The Genk star extended his sizzling form for the Jupiler League side to the national team, scoring a late winner against the Benin Republic to condemn Nigeria’s neighbours to their first-ever defeat at home in eight years.

“We will just have to go there and take the gold,” he told NFF TV after the game at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Port Novo.

The lanky striker who is the leading scorer in the Belgian elite league with 25 goals in 30 games was also full of praise for Nigerian fans.

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“I’m just going to say, thanks to the nation for the push because they have really pushed me to show what I have to show in the national team,” the 26-year-old added.

“And now I am happy for the team and for the country. It is a lot of confidence for a striker to score, and I’m very happy.”

Although the three-time African champions had already booked their place in the competition billed for Cameroon before the match, Onuachu’s 93rd-minute winner guaranteed Gernot Rohr’s men a top-of-the-table finish in Group L of the qualifying series.

A fourth consecutive goalless draw in the section seemed on the cards until giant substitute Onuachu reacted quickest when goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbe blocked a Victor Osimhen shot in Porto-Novo.

A combination of the woodwork, which foiled Osimhen, wild shooting and several superb saves by Allagbe had kept the match at Stade Charles de Gaulle goalless for 92 minutes.

Nigeria have 11 points, Benin seven, Sierra Leone four and Lesotho three going into the final round of qualifiers Tuesday.

While three-time African champions Nigeria host Lesotho in Lagos with only pride at stake, Cup of Nations qualification will be on the line when Sierra Leone confront Benin in Freetown.

Umar, Onuachu To Miss All Africa Games Qualifier Against Zambia

Aminu Umar
Nigeria’s Aminu Umar runs on June 24, 2013 during a group stage football match between Cuba and Nigeria at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup.

 Nigeria’s Olympic team coach, Samson Siasia, will miss the services of Aminu Umar and Paul Onuachu in this weekend’s All Africa Games qualifier against Zambia in Lusaka.

Umar’s Turkish club Osmanlispor has notified the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that the former Flying Eagles striker will not be released for the encounter.

Osmanlispor are seeking promotion to the Turkish elite division and Aminu’s services are needed for the promotion chase.

Danish club Midtjylland have also informed the NFF that striker Paul Onuachu would  also not be available, as he is nursing an injury.

The Nigerian team is expected to depart for Lusaka on Thursday for the game scheduled for Sunday April 12.