By the time Genk face Winkel Sports in the Belgian Cup tie later today, Paul Onuachu – if selected – would have gone a whole 5 games without finding the back of the net across all competitions in club football.
Whilst ordinarily this might not be such a cause for concern yet for most strikers as the season is still very much young, Onuachu’s case is slightly different.
For one with so many doubters, Onuachu’s crazy goals-to-games ratio last season served as a saving grace and guaranteed him national team invitations whilst drowning out the voices of concern about his overall centre forward abilities.
He just couldn’t stop scoring last season, finally ending with an astonishing 35 goals (and 5 assists) in 41 games across all competitions for Genk. Speculations were rife of a move to a more glamorous club in a bigger league in Europe following such a spectacular goal scoring feat.
Sadly, the ‘dream move’ did not materialise much to the frustration of Onuachu himself who was quoted recently as saying: “I can do nothing more to secure a transfer. The football world is not always fair.”
If he couldn’t do anything more, he surely doesn’t want to do anything less! Going more games without scoring will only vindicate the views of critics who long argued that, not only is Onuachu a dreary one-dimensional striker, he is also a potential one-season wonder whose style isn’t much sought-after by modern football managers and he is definitely not one to excite in Super Eagles colours.
For Nigeria, Onuachu’s mad goals return for Genk often made it rather embarrassing for Rohr to overlook him even though the German gaffer clearly had his sights on other options.
Now, with a goals drought, Rohr would not think twice to bypass Onuachu for strikers like Taiwo Awoniyi or Sadiq Umar who are more of fan-favourites.
Reading the article on Complete Sports where Thomas Buffel, Genk’s former assistant captain, asked for a strategic rethink and more crosses to be whipped in for Onuachu to rediscover his killer boots will only play into the hands of, and be laughed at by many critics ; those who have longed complained that Onuachu can only be successful in quaint and antiquated style of play that relies on long balls and crosses from out of date wingers.
This assessment, I think, is harsh. There is more to Onuachu’s play than just profiting from unprepossessing crosses. He is skillful in his movements and masterful in burying his chances from in and around the 18 yard box. His shots are technical and pack a mighty velocity.
I think he is still disappointed at not securing a lucrative transfer at the back of his exploits of last season and this may be mentally eating away at his productivity thereby making him less lethal. Even when he scores this season, he does not seem to celebrate with unbridled joy; he doesn’t seem happy where he (still) is.
Onuachu nonetheless has an impressive 9 goals in 11 games thus far this season against his name. On another day, this stats will be a fantastic start to the season despite the recent goals drought.
But not Onuachu: he set the bar so ridiculously high for himself from last season that only by attaining such craziness again this term can he hope to cement a place in the Super Eagles and continue to keep critics shtum.
The season is still very much young and his return of 11 goals across 17 games in all competitions thus far represents a healthy booty. Though he is waiting for his dream move – having continued to be linked to a number of Premier League clubs – Onuachu should retain his hunger for scoring goals where he is at the moment.
If the goals continue to dry up, so will future Super Eagles invites and interests from other clubs (imaginary or otherwise).
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