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Derided at home, king in Europe

…Onuachu steals limelight in Belgium

He may be playing in the less-fancied Belgian Jupiter Liga, Nigeria’s Paul Onuachu is unarguably the hottest African striker in Europe at the moment and that he will prove again when his Genk side take on Kortrijk on Saturday (today). Onuachu scored a hat-trick as Genk started their 2021 with an emphatic 4-1 victory over KAS Eupen in a Belgian First Division A encounter on Wednesday to take his tally for the season to 18 goals.

In fact, only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has scored more goals than him this term as the Polish has 19 to his credit so far. Although he is yet to win over Nigerian football fans, the lanky striker is fast proving the most crucial figure for the Genk side who are pushing for the title. They are just within a point of the league leaders Club Brugge after garnering 38 points from 19 matches and the Nigerian has been at the centre of the impressive run.

Genk hierarchy may not have anticipated the kind of form the forward is exhibiting this season after returning just eight league goals last term which prompted the side to snap up Onuachu’s compatriot Cyril Dessers from the Netherlands. Dessers was supposed to be the main striker for the team this term but the Belgian-born forward has been limited to a substitute role with his last league start dating back to October and has managed just four goals so far in 14 league appearances.

It is Onuachu who has hogged the headlines the most. After impressing in his debut match for the Super Eagles, Onuachu has remained at the periphery of the national team squad after a string of uninspiring showing but his sustained form for Genk means coach Gernot Rohr hasn’t unlocked the best way to use the striker. Statistics have shown that the forward is most deadly in the penalty area where he has scored all his league goals for the Belgian side this season. The giant Onuachu (he is over 2 metres tall) is of course deadly with the head as he has scored five of his 18 goals via a header.

OnuachuIn addition, Onuachu does not really have a favourite foot when it comes to goals. Four of his goals were scored with the left foot, three with the right foot. The seven remaining goals were scored from the penalty spot. Genk’s opponents in today’s match Kortrijk know their visitors’ deadliest player but it remains to be seen if the modest side would stop Onuachu from extending his scoring spree.

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