Former Genk and Belgium International striker Wesley Sonck has described Nigeria international Paul Onuachu as the best striker in Belgium at the moment.
It is interesting to see such encomiums being directed at a striker who has not really impressed many Nigeria fans when he dons Super Eagles colours.
“He has something like Jan Koller, but with better feet. He can head incredibly well and moves quite well. His feet are not bad and he is not slow with his big steps,”: said 42 year old Sonck who played for Genk between 2000 and 2003.
I think Onuachu can still be such an asset to the Super Eagles if called upon. But for that to happen, it will help if he can try to adapt his own style to suit the Super Eagles rather than the other way around.
And I strongly believe he can. I remember reading Steve Dede’s appraisal of Onuachu’s performance against Egypt in the 2018 friendly when the Pulse.ng journalist touched on some attributes that lanky striker has in his locker.
“Paul Onuachu (Striker)
Best Super Eagles player of the evening. Was a physical menace to the Egyptian defence who could not handle him. Was good with everything, caused some problems with his nimble feet and caught everything from the air. A performance complimented with his wonderful early goal.
9/10,” observed Dede in 2018.
Nimble feet, aerial prowess, fancy footwork, nuisance to defenders and a goal to add icing to the cherry on his performance cake. If he could produce all of these in one match, why did he struggle to reprise such performances in his subsequent 6 caps for Nigeria to date?
Are fans being just impatient or is it such that the current climate of the Super Eagles makes patience with mis-firing strikers a scarce commodity?
Whichever the case, Onuachu is distinguishing himself as a consistent goal scorer in club football. He will need to replicate his club form in Super Eagles colours if the opportunities present themselves.
Nigeria is not short of quality options up front. So, strikers who fail to grab the opportunities given with both feet will find themselves alienated from the national team regardless of how well they play in club football.
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