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Genk’s Onuachu beats Mata and Bongonda to Ebony Shoe prize

19:55 BST 07/06/2021
Paul Onuachu Genk 2019-20
Thanks to his inspiring form for the Smurfs, the Super Eagles star has been crowned as the best African player in the Belgium top-flight

Nigeria international and Genk star Paul Onuachu has been named as winner of the 2021 Ebony Shoe award.

The lanky striker saw off competition from Club Brugge's Clinton Mata (Angola) and Genk's Theo Bongonda (DR Congo) to the prize to succeed Dieumerci Mbokani - who represents Royal Antwerp.

The Ebony Shoe prize is an annual award given to the best African player in the Belgian Pro League.

Onuachu was in blistering forward in the 2020-21 campaign – helping John van den Brom’s Smurfs to finish as runners-up in the Belgian top-flight behind winners Club Brugge.

For his contributions, the 26-year-old found the net on 33 occasions in 38 league outings, amid other stunning displays.

His eye-catching performances also saw him win the 2020-21 Belgian League Player of the Year and winner of the Golden Boot award.

With this feat, he becomes the fifth Nigerian to claim the prize after Daniel Amokachi (1992 and 1994), Victor Ikpeba (1993), Godwin Okpara (1995), and Celestine Babayaro (1996).

Babayaro was the last Super Eagle to claim the diadem after seeing off competition from the Congolese duo of Michel Ngonge and Jean-Claude Mukanya.

Also, Onuachu is the fourth player from Genk to win the Ebony Shoe after Guinea’s Souleymane Oulare (1999), Burkina Faso’s Moumouni Dagano (2002) and Tanzania’s Mbwana Samatta (2019).

The forward has two years left on his current contract, but he is unsure about seeing out the deal, with a number of European clubs believed to be interested in his services.

“For me, you never know what the future holds but I think scoring a lot of goals this season for KRC Genk and of course my career is going to be one of the most important periods for me," Onuachu told the club's YouTube channel. 

“It is going to be difficult to say I'm going to repeat it where I am going but I think the players we have in this team really make all this possible for me, but like I said earlier you don't know what the future holds.

“As it is now I think I'm really happy for the figure I have in the league and of course for KRC Genk.”