Saturday, April 10, 2021

The five African scorers who shine in Europe

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The Franco-Senegalese player Boulaye Dia at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne on February 20, 2021.

Several African attackers, sometimes with a winding course, are at the top of the scorers’ classification of the European championships where they play. Senegalese, Cameroonian, Gabonese, Nigerian or Moroccan, they all display high-end statistics, which point to a future animated transfer window.

  • Boulaye Dia, he touches the goal

It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stories of the moment. Three years ago, Boulaye Dia played at Jura Sud Foot, a national 2 club (division 4). Today, the 24-year-old Senegalese international is one of the top scorers in the French championship (12 goals) with Stade de Reims, which he joined in 2018. His market value is estimated between 12 million euros and 15 million euros and Olympique de Marseille, among others, follows closely. But before turning professional, Dia, born in Oyonnax (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), experienced many ups and downs. At the age of 12, his father’s car broke down, while he was on his way to Saint-Etienne for a test drive, forcing him to give up. At 17, when his father fell ill, he left Jura Sud for the first time to return to his hometown. He becomes an electrician in order to financially help his family. At 20, a trial at a Welsh club came to an end because of an injury. But Dia held on, to the point of becoming one of the most highly rated strikers in Europe.

  • Jean-Pierre Nsamé, the lover of Switzerland

The top scorer in the Swiss championship (12 goals), which he had already flown over in 2019-2020 (32 goals), also made a choice of life. Jean-Pierre Nsamé, 27, has decided to favor his club Young Boys Bern, with which he is aiming for a fourth consecutive league title, rather than playing for the Indomitable Lions, the national team of Cameroon, his country of origin. . A choice which should also allow him to benefit more from his daughter, educated in France, but which could deprive him of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) in 2022, precisely planned in Cameroon. But Nsame assumes, he who really started to talk about him at Servette Geneva in 2016-2017, where his effectiveness (23 goals) had aroused the interest of Bern. Previously, the Cameroonian had had sometimes complicated experiences in Angers, Carquefou and Amiens.

  • Aaron Boupendza, finished the sidelines!

In the summer of 2020, Hatayspor, an Antioch club promoted to Turkish Ligue 1, paid 300,000 euros to recruit Aaron Boupendza, 24, then at the Girondins de Bordeaux. Today, the Gabonese striker, current Süper Lig top scorer (18 goals) is worth thirty times as much, a sum that Galatasaray Istanbul, one of the biggest clubs in Turkey, is willing to pay. For Boupendza, this exile in Antioch, near the Syrian border, is a real blessing. Because since his arrival in Europe in 2016, the player has not known only good times. Confined to the Bordeaux reserve team, often loaned – Pau, GFC Ajaccio, Tours and Feirense, in Portugal – Boupendza has frequented the sidelines more than the lawns, except in Pau. It was also noted by some disciplinary gaps, in Bordeaux as in Feirense. Today, he is only talked about in the field …

  • Paul Onuachu, he has everything of a great

With his 2.01 m and 84 kg, Paul Onuachu, 26, has long left observers of the round ball dubious. In 2012, the then 17-year-old Nigerian took advantage of a school trip to Denmark to get noticed by FC Midtjytlland, partner of Nigerian club FC Ebeidei, where he played at the time. Deemed too tall or too clumsy, Onuachu plays little, and accepts being loaned to Vejle BK, in Danish Ligue 2, where he scores a few goals and begins to overcome reluctance. On his return to FC Midtjylland, the striker confirmed and began to conscientiously stack goals (74 in total). Enough to decide Genk, one of the best Belgian clubs, to spend 6 million euros, in June 2019 to attract him to Flanders. After scoring nine goals in his first season in Belgium, Onuachu, affectionately nicknamed “Bambi”, is now at 24. A total that places him behind Pole Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) in the ranking of the top European scorers in the league. season (28).

  • Youssef El-Arabi, confusing choices

At 34, Youssef El-Arabi is not a football hope. But the Moroccan international has decided to make his end of his career a celebration. He is now the second highest scorer in the Greek league (17 goals) with Olympiakos. El-Arabi will have, throughout his career, confused those who imagined him capable of playing in a big club. Thus, in 2011, while he shines with Caen, he prefers to join Al-Hilal, in Saudi Arabia, rather than Marseille, fully assuming this financial choice. When he decides to return to Europe, he chooses Granada, a modest Spanish club, where he confirms his qualities as a scorer. Again in 2016, when he was approached in a more upscale formation, El-Arabi decided, against all odds, to sign for Al-Duhail, Qatar. The 103 goals he scored there gave him a new gateway to Europe. But the Moroccan could soon return to the Persian Gulf. For a final snub?

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