Onuachu: can he re-discover his scoring boots for Nigeria?
It is becoming a prevailing narrative that Genk forward Paul Onuachu is not a fan-favourite of Super Eagles supporters due to his underwhelming performances in Nigeria colours. Also, It is not news that he has been drafted to replace injured Moses Simon for the squad to face Sierra Leone in back-to-back November Afcon qualifiers.
The 24 year old centre forward is doing well by continually making himself relevant to the Super Eagles via his outstanding output in club football but he needs to do more.
When he is not scoring goals for Nigeria, it will be helpful for him to provide 'assists' because fans and coaches will not forget these as his contributions.
If Onuachu continues to be barren in goals scoring and impotent in providing assists for the national team, it then begs the question: of what use is inviting him for international assignments?
I am a fan of Onuachu and I feel he can win Super Eagles fans over. For that to happen, he has to look for ways to work around the tactical set up of the Super Eagles that he is planted in.
Rohr was right : Onuachu needs to adapt his game to suit Nigeria, not the other way around.
We can't keep making excuses for him like saying that selfish wingers do not pass to him or that not enough of long balls are directed his way.
The efficacy of these excuses are wearing thin and no one seems to be buying them anymore!
A resourceful centre forward will always seek ways to make the best use of circumstances around them.
Statistics have it that Onuachu touched the ball no less than 10 times in the game against Algeria on 09 October. The questions are: what did he do with the ball? How effective was he when called upon?
Despite all the talk about the Super Eagles tactical set-up not being conducive to Onuachu's style, the fact remains that he is seeing the ball. It is what he is doing with it that is defining him as a Super Eagles underperformer and not the fact that he is starved of service.
But it did not start like that for the Genk man.
"At the first training (with Onuachu) I was like wow! He has a lot of potential and showed during the first session that he is special," Balogun told BBC Sport in 2019.
"We just need to take it easy and not put him under too much pressure because he's a quiet and focused young player.
I am very happy to see a player of this quality in our team." concluded Balogun.
Well, Onuachu is now under pressure and he should start fulfilling those potentials that Balogun and others saw in him at the beginning of his Super Eagles career.
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