The Genk star was among the country’s top stars who enjoyed fine goalscoring runs with their respective clubs in the just-concluded season
Former Nigeria striker Victor Ezeji has named Paul Onuachu as Nigeria’s best player in the 2020-21 season because of the number of goals he scored in the Belgian First Division A.
Onuachu scored 33 goals in 38 league appearances for Genk as they finished second behind champions Club Brugge on the table, and he also helped them win the Belgian Cup.
Thanks to his individual brilliance, the 27-year-old became the fifth Nigerian to win the Ebony shoe (Best African player in Belgium) after Daniel Amokachi (1992 and 1994), Victor Ikpeba (1993), Godwin Okpara (1995), and Celestine Babayaro (1996).
Elsewhere in Italy, Crotone’s Simy Nwankwo produced some outstanding displays in front of goal with 20 goals in 38 Serie A matches but his efforts were not enough to save the Pythagoreans from relegation.
However, the 29-year-old eclipsed Obafemi Martins’ goals record during the season to become the highest-scoring Nigerian in Italian top-flight history with 30 goals across three seasons.
Another Nigerian who improved his performance was Kelechi Iheanacho, who helped Leicester City win the FA Cup with a return of four goals in six games, and he also scored 12 goals in 25 league appearances – his best tally in a Premier League season since he made his debut in 2015.
Ezeji, in his assessment of the players, did not hesitate to pick Onuachu and he applauded him for the hard work he put in to score 33 league goals.
“Onuachu is my best Nigerian player this season, for him to have scored that number of goals in Belgium shows class even though we might say the league is not up to the top five leagues in Europe, to score goals in Nigeria is difficult talkless of Europe,” Ezeji told Goal.
The 2003 Caf Champions League winner with Enyimba also urged Onuachu and Nwankwo to seek bigger challenges elsewhere with more emphasis on the latter, whose club dropped to Serie B.
“I believe for someone to have score that amount of goals, he [Onuachu] should be going to a bigger league,” he continued.
“For Simy, nobody knew his club would be relegated at the end of the season but he has shown that there is so much in him. I think he will get somewhere and not go down with the club because that is the most important thing.”