After a mellowed debut season last year with the Blue-White, the big, burly center-forward has been unplayable this campaign but has there ever been a deadlier Nigerian striker in Belgium?
Paul Onuachu found the back of the net yet again on Sunday evening against Cercle Brugge at the Luminus Arena to take his Jupiler Pro League tally for the season to 25 goals.
That’s a career-best stat even for the 201cm tall target-man whose previous personal best was the 18 goals he managed across 36 matches for FC Midtjylland in the Danish top-flight in 2017.
With the First Division A not concluding until May, there’s more to come from a striker who has notched five goals in his last seven games and sits atop the goalscorer’s chart in Belgium.
Already, Onuachu is the most prolific Nigerian forward in Europe, finding the back of the net with more regularity than Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Crotone’s Simy Nwankwo, Lorient’s Terem Moffi, Almeria’s Umar Sadiq, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho.
But how does the 26-year-old stack against some of Nigeria’s finest players to ever grace the Belgian Jupiler Pro League?
Some of Nigeria’s most exciting footballers have in the past rocked Belgium with their skills, tricks, and loads of goals. Among the names are Daniel Amokachi, Samson Siasia, Stephen Keshi, Moses Simon, and Henry Onyekuru.
But none has bettered the goal-haul of former Bendel Insurance striker Joseph Akpala, who smashed in 76 goals and grabbed another 22 assists in 234 matches for three Belgian clubs.
While Akpala netted double figures in at least three seasons in Belgium, his most productive year during the 2007/08 campaign yielded 18 league goals and three assists in the colours of Sporting Charleroi.
Former 3SC Shooting Stars boy-wonder Tosin Dosunmu equally did excellently to notch 68 goals, and 32 assists in 200 Pro League matches during the early to mid-2000s.
The ex-Westerlo ace’s best campaign was during the 2005/06 season when he fired 18 goals for Beerschoft.
One of Nigeria’s most outstanding players ever in Belgium, Daniel Amokachi, spread his 35 goals in Club Brugge’s colours across four seasons.
At the same time, compatriot Henry Onyekuru got a combined 21 goals for Eupen and Anderlecht during brilliant spells at the two Belgian sides.
However, after two years, Onuachu already has more impressive numbers than both Amokachi and Onyekuru.
The Super Eagles striker’s total haul is still dwarfed by the meteoric feats of Akpala and Dosunmu.
But none of the Nigerian superstars before Onuachu managed 20 Jupiler Pro League in a season. The former Vejle man already has an incredible 25 strikes to his name.
In summary, over a period of a single league season, Onuachu has been by some distance the most prolific Nigerian to ever feature in the Belgian top-flight.
And it pleases the heart to know that his best is still to come.