Onyilo takes 3rd place in Best African Striker of the Year award
A great start to the 13-14 season by Nigerian
striker Ifeanyi Onyilo
has been rewarded today, as he received third place in the annual African Striker of the Year
award. The award was won by ES Tunis
front man Yannick N’Djeng
, who managed to score 34 times in 34 games for his club, while former Chelsea
legend Didier Drogba
came third. Speaking at the award ceremony, Onyilo had this to say during his teary acceptance speech.
‘It is a great honour to have come in the top 3 best African strikers. When I first began playing football, it was for fun with my friends, and although I dreamed of being here on his stage, I never imagined it would actually come true. To be recognised alongside Didier and Yannick, who both had superb seasons, and to be above so many talented African strikers is a true honour and I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life. Thank you.’
At the start of the season, the Nigerian was seen by Red Star
as their 3rd choice striker, and when Filip Kasalica
began the season in scintillating form taking the league by storm, his chances of first team football looked bleak. However, given his chance he took it with both hands and suddenly began challenging the inform Montenegrin
for his place. Their friendly rivalry has been the source of Red Star’s great season, with the pair managing 39 goals between them. Of this, Onyilo has contributed 15 in his 17 appearances as well as 3 assists for his side.
To take his place as the third best striker originating from the African continent, the Red Star man has beaten several of the world’s best, in what consider a shock result. The non-inclusion of Samuel Eto’o
in any of the awards was a big moment for African football as a whole, as their most celebrated and awarded player in history failed to make the grade, after he was unable to start for his club Chelsea. His teammate, Demba Ba
, also failed to make it into the top 3, after subpar performances. Swansea
front man Wilfred Bony
after his big money move to the Welsh
side was something of a let-down, as he has only scored 4 goals to this point. CSKA’s Seydou Doumbia
was expected by most critics to get 3rd place, as he leads the Russian
club’s goal scoring charts with 14 goals to his name, but the fact that he has made 8 more appearances than Onyilo and still hasn’t scored more than him led to him losing out this season.
Red Star will hope the 23 year old’s form continues, but with this award certainly going to raise his profile in world football. The Serbian club could see interest in him go dramatically up from some big names. For Onyilo personally, he will hope to keep impressing and potentially get his first cap for his country Nigeria soon, so that he can challenge for a place in their World Cup squad.