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Nigerian goal machine hailed after winning Belgian Golden Shoe

Paul Onuachu
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The 27-year-old striker scored a brilliant 33 goals in 38 matches in the Belgian First Division A last season, including four goals in the playoffs.

Genk Chairman Peter Croonen has praised Paul Onuachu after the striker won the Belgian Golden Shoe.

Onuachu fended off competition from Club Brugge duo Noa Lang and Charles De Ketelaere to become the first Nigerian to win the award and only the fourth African to do so in the league’s history.

The Belgian Golden Shoe, an award sponsored by Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws, is awarded to the best footballer in the Belgian First Division A of the past year.

‘Onuachu is someone who deserves and appreciates every prize’

In an interview with HLN, Croonen took the opportunity to hail his star man’s achievements and reflected on how his award will boost everyone in the team.

“Honestly, I’m surprised,” said the Genk chairman. “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.”

Which Africans have won the Belgian Golden Shoe?

As previously mentioned, Onuachu has become the fourth African to win the Belgian Golden Shoe.

The other three stars were: Dieumerci Mbokani (DR Congo – Genk in 2012), Mbark Boussoufa (Morocco – Gent/Anderlecht in 2006 and 2010), and Aruna Dindane (Ivory Coast – Anderlecht in 2000).

Onuachu and Genk, meanwhile, return to action on Sunday for a league match against Beerschot.