Paul Onuachu showed immense quality on his Super Eagles debut in March 2019. He scored a first-minute winner in a 1-0 win over Egypt in a friendly game and completely dominated the Egyptian defence on that hot afternoon in Asaba.
It was a fantastic first impression to make to Nigerians and was soon on the plane to Egypt for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Things took a different turn in his career shortly after AFCON 2019.
He left Denmark where he had won the league and cup in two seasons to Belgium. But teething problems at Genk saw him manage nine goals in 22 league games. Considerably, not a bad goal return, but the striker wasn’t on the same level as the previous season. His subpar club form meant he wasn’t in consideration for the national team call-ups any longer.
This season, Onuachu began working his way back into reckoning and got a deserved call-up for the friendly games against Algeria and Tunisia in October 2020. He had 65 minutes to forget against Algeria and was subsequently left out of the Super Eagles squad in the next international break.
His underwhelming performance against Algeria seemed to have sent his international career into comatose, but Onuachu is reviving it with his performances for Genk this season.
His goal in Genk’s 2-1 away loss Kortrijk took his tally to 19 goals in 20 league games this season. That’s an incredible goal return, which shows that Onuachu should not be ignored anymore.
His red-hot form deserves attention and praises, and while he has not shown that he can have a worthwhile career with the Super Eagles despite several chances, he has shown that he deserves another.
Onuachu is very much a target man whose style of play does not suit the Super Eagles. His history with the national team has shown that he needs to add more to his game to fit in more.
But this form in Belgium deserves a benefit of the doubt that he can be a fantastic option for the Super Eagles.
19 goals in 20 league games is a fantastic return in the Belgian top flight, and that’s enough for Onuachu to get all of our attention.