Genk star Onuachu becomes first Nigerian to win Belgian Golden Shoe

Genk star Paul Onuachu has become the first Nigerian player to win the Belgian Golden Shoe.

The 27-year-old striker has been rewarded for his outstanding goalscoring record last season.

Onuachu was crowned at a ceremony on Wednesday night as he beat off Club Brugge duo Noa Lang and Charles Des Ketelaere to the award.

The 2021 award recognises the Super Eagles star's performances for the 2020-21 season, where he finished as the First Division A top scorer with 33 goals in 38 matches.

Onuachu becomes the fourth African star to win the award after DR Congo's Dieumerci Mbokani, Ivory Coast's Aruna Dindane and Morocco's Mbark Boussoufa.

Last year, he finished third in the annual award ranking and Genk chairman Peter Croonen has described his latest success as a boost for the team and the player himself.

“Honestly, I'm surprised,” Croonen told the award organisers. “I would of course have been incredibly sorry if Paul had not won, but for some reason, I had the unexpected. Now I'm really happy because it's well deserved for Onuachu too.”

“Paul is someone who deserves and appreciates every prize. Paul is a collective thinker: he wants to be important for the whole team with his goals, but this individual award is also a recognition that will make him very happy.

“We haven't seen statistics like that of Paul at Genk for a long time. Paul is not only important for his offensive performance but also invaluable defensively.

“We now have a catching up race ahead of us after the winter break. I am convinced that this trophy will help with that. The Golden Boot will give Paul and the team a boost.”

Unfortunately, Onuachu could not join the Super Eagles for their trip to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon owing to injury.

He is currently working his way back to full fitness with the Belgian league set to return from its winter break on Saturday.

Onuachu has scored 12 league goals this season for Genk, who occupy the ninth spot on the table, 18 points behind leaders Union Saint-Gilloise.

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