Though not among the Super Eagles squad gunning for Nigeria’s fourth AFCON glory, sensational striker Paul Onuachu has claimed a trophy for himself as he emerged as Belgian league’s top scorer for 2021.
Onuachu went home with the golden shoe award which, according to a tweet by Soar Super Eagles, makes him the first Nigerian to win such. The 27-year-old Genk striker edged past Club Brugge duo Noa Lang and Charles Des Ketelaere to claim the award.
His impressive goal scoring form for Genk saw him bag 33 goals in 38 matches during the 2020/2021 season. Although he is the first Nigerian to win the award, he becomes the fourth African to attain the feat, following the steps of DR Congo’s Dieumerci Mbokani, Ivory Coast’s Aruna Dindane, and Morocco’s Mbark Boussoufa.
Commending the effort of the striker who finished third last year, Genk’s Chairman Peter Croonen tagged Onuachu’s win as a boost for the team and the player himself.
The Chairman initially expressed his surprise while being interviewed by the award organizers as the Nigerian emerged as the winner.
“Honestly, I’m surprised,” Croonen told the award organisers. “I would of course have been incredibly sorry if Paul had not won, but for some reason, I had the unexpected. Now I’m really happy because it’s well deserved for Onuachu too.”
“Paul is someone who deserves and appreciates every prize. Paul is a collective thinker: he wants to be important for the whole team with his goals, but this individual award is also a recognition that will make him very happy.
“We haven’t seen statistics like that of Paul at Genk for a long time. Paul is not only important for his offensive performance but also invaluable defensively.
“We now have a catching up race ahead of us after the winter break. I am convinced that this trophy will help with that. The Golden Boot will give Paul and the team a boost,” he admitted.
Reacting to Soar Super Eagles’ tweet, a Twitter handler claimed Onuachu is not the first Nigerian to win the award.
“Paul is the fifth Nigerian player to win that award please…make una dey report good info,” one Christopher Omobhude wrote.
However, the tweep was actually referring to the Best African Player award which was represented by an Ebony shoe. Paul Onuachu claimed the award last year which indeed made him the fifth Nigerian to do so after the likes of Victor Ikpeaba (1993), Daniel Amokachi (1994), Godwin Okpara (1995), and Celestine Babyaro (1995). This particular award he recently won is for the League’s top scorer of the year.