It’s not everyday that I get on this blog and admit that I stole a post word for word. But there’s no way you wouldn’t have stolen this post if you were in my shoes. And there’s no way you would be in my shoes if you have a shoe size of less than 47 or US 13W. It’s not something very commonly done in this climes but today, we take the time to give honour to whom it is due. Enjoy, below!
By Nnanna O.Kalu
The numbers do not lie. For all strikers, it is about the numbers. As they say in football circles – the goals do the talking.
Mfon Udoh’s brace in a 2-1 victory over Abia Warriors last Sunday in Calabar, was reported in the media as routine goals in a home win. But those well taken goals moved Enyimba’s number 10, nearer to half-century of league goals in the colours of the Peoples Elephant, in less than four full seasons at the club.
His record 23 league goals in his first season at Enyimba in 2014, and seven in the last two seasons-replete with mixed shades of injuries, droughts in the domestic scene and flourish in the continent, which culminated in his emergence as the top scorer with 9 goals in the CAF Champions league last term showed his quality and resilience. Udoh’s lob to double the lead in the local derby, his 10th in 18 league starts this season took his total league goals in Enyimba to 40.
An average of 10 goals in a season. A remarkable achievement in a league where “One season Wonders” abound. The Enyimba captain has shown consistency in front of goal in the last 5 seasons,since he debuted in the top flight- Nigerian Professional football league with Akwa United. His solitary season with the Uyo based side yielded about 15 league goals in 2013. A feat that announced his talent and craft on the big stage,and in turn led to a scramble for his signature by the top clubs.
Hitting double digits in three of the last five seasons in the elite league and 55 goals in the period under review (2012-17)- an average of 11 goals in a season deserves a worthy mention.
In serious climes, data collection and analysis are getting more sophisticated and are deployed to weave stories around those behind the numbers, deepen the narratives and make commercial success of every feat attained and records equalled or broken. But in our clime, Clubs and the League Managment seem to look the other way.While resources that should be deployed to crunch the numbers, churn out credible data to attract and retain the interest of the teeming fans are expended on irrelevant items. The clubs and to a large the league can not be viable without projecting the players behind the big numbers as the poster boys of the league.
In European leagues, available data form the basis of football commentaries. It is updated as new grounds are broken. Like In the English Premier league, strikers with a 100 or more league goals are celebrated as centurions,an exclusive club of proven goalscorers. But here, little or nothing is said about a striker whose glut of goals have won team laurels, individual gongs both in the domestic and continental scenes. An attempt to add available figures- 40 league goals, 9 in the CAF Champions league in 2016, 4 in 2014 FA Cup – including the winner in the final victory over Dolphins among others, If well documented could place Udoh on the path to attaining a club or national milestone.
The goals are indeed doing the talking for Mfon Udoh.
All hail an absolute legend of the Nigerian league nay African club football.
I just couldn’t resist the urge to steal this. Kindly follow the author on Twitter @NnannaOKalu
I’ll be back tomorrow