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Is Paul Onuachu a Super Eagles Material?

Paul Onuachu produced another pulverising performance yesterday in the Belgian league, scoring 2 goals in Genk’s hard fought 2:2 draw against Oostende bringing his tally to 6 goals in 7 outings in what is fast becoming a barnstorming season for the Super Eagles reject.

On another day, such ruthlessness in front of goal would lead to calls from far and wide for the 2.1 meter tall centre forward to be the first name on Super Eagles lists. But no, not in the case of Onuachu.

After just 6 caps for Nigeria – the first in which he was astonishingly deadly with a scintillating solo drive and an emphatic finish in just 5 minutes against powerhouse Egypt in March 2019 – many fans believe they have now seen more than enough of the 26 year old in Super Eagles colours.

But why?

It is fair to say that Onuachu is a victim of his own initial success.

After many months of clamours for him to be included in Super Eagles squads following his consistency in Scandinavia across seasons, Onuachu got his chance against the Pharaohs of Egypt last March and his goal and all round performance seem to justify the hype.

But it proved to be a damp squib as he neither scored, nor assisted nor produced all round convincing performances in the next 5 Nigeria matches. Indeed, he was even selected ahead of Ighalo and Osimhen as Super Eagles starting striker in the 2019 Afcon.

However, the Super Eagles needed Ighalo to come off the bench to help pip Burundi to a slim 1:0 victory with his delicious side-swipe goal after Onuachu’s 73 minutes on the pitch were as impotent as they were forgettable (despite some timid efforts on goal).

Onuachu lost the starting striker slot in the Super Eagles and has struggled to re-establish himself ever since.

But that is not the case in club football where Owerri-born striker has built up on his impressive 9 goals in 22 outings of last season with an astonishing 6 goals in 7 games thus far this term in Belgium.

Many fans are quick to point to his languid, slow and team-mates dependent style of centre forward play as possible reasons why he can’t succeed with the Super Eagles.

But, as seen in club football, if the team is set up in a way that will take advantage of his aerial prowess, positional play, timing techniques and movements, Onuachu can be prolific for Nigeria.

However, with viable options becoming available to the Super Eagles by the day, the appetite may not be there for Rohr to adapt his style and approach to 1 centre forward when there are 5 other strikers who already fit neatly with his current formation and tactical orientation.

Whichever the case may be, Onuachu is now proving that his form and output in Scandinavia were no fluke!

In circumstances conducive to his style of play, he is proving that he can score respectable amount of goals. But, can he find those set of circumstances in the Super Eagles? That is the question.

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