As the 2015-16 season draws to a close across Europe, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD highlights the top 10 Nigerian goal scorers during the campaign…
1. Haruna Garba (Hamrun Spartans, Malta)
Hamrun Spartans striker Haruna Garba tops the list of the highest goal-scoring Nigerian players in Europe this season after netting 22 goals to help his side gain promotion to the top division in the Maltese league.
The former Padaysco Academy player became the first Nigerian player in Europe to cross the 20-goal mark this season and was also adjudged the second best player in the league. He was also the second top scorer in the second division. The 22 year old scored four braces in the course of the season for Hamrun Spartans.
Name: Haruna Garba
Club: Hamrun Spartans
2. Simeon Nwankwo (Gil Vicente, Portugal):
Gil Vicente forward Simeon Nwankwo comes in at No.2 with 20 goals in 43 games for his Portuguese second division side that finished 11th on the log.
In terms of goals, the 2015-16 season has been the best season ever for Nwankwo since he joined Gil Vicente in 2013-14 as he has taken his goal-scoring exploits to another level this past season.
Despite scoring just nine goals in 45 games in his first two seasons, Nwankwo scored three braces against UD Oliveirense, Benfica 11 and Leixoes as he finished top scorer in the Portuguese Segunda division ahead of Platiny Rodrigues and his compatriot Stanley Awurum who both scored 17 and 14 goals respectively.
Name: Simeon Nwankwo
Club: Gil Vicente
3. Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russian)
Former Super Eagles skipper Ahmed Musa has scored 18 times in all competitions this term and was instrumental in CSKA’s qualification for the final of the Russian Cup which they lost to Zenit St Petersburg.
Since joining the club five years ago, the CSKA Moscow winger has made 167 league appearances, scoring 54 goals for his side who could win the Russian championship if they avoid defeat in their final game away to Rubin Kazan on Saturday.
Name: Ahmed Musa
Club: CSKA Moscow
4. Odion Ighalo (Watford, England)
After scoring 20 league goals in the Championship for Watford, Odion Ighalo began his debut season in the Barclays English Premier League with a bang, coming off the substitutes bench to score his first goal of the season as Watford drew 2-2 at Goodison Park.
The 26-year -ld forward scored against top sides Chelsea and Arsenal while he bagged braces against Liverpool, West Ham and Newcastle.
His lowest ebb this past season was him failing to score in 12 straight EPL games but that run was broken in Watford’s 4-2 loss to Aston Villa when he scored his side’s second goal in the defeat.
Name: Odion Ighalo
5. Blessing Eleke (Nova Gorica/Olimpija Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Blessing Eleke has been one of the Nigerian revelations in the Slovenian League this season. Eleke’s five braces saw league champions elect Olimpija Ljubljana splash €750,000 for his services. Eleke was racially abused for overcelebrating a stoppage time equaliser in a league by his former coach, who was sacked afterwards.
Name: Blessing Eleke
Club: Nova Gorica/Olimpija Ljubljana)
6. Tony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Anthony Nwakaeme’s sterling form for Hapoel Be’er Sheva has not gone unnoticed as he was nominated for the Best Foreign Player award for his exploits for the club since he joined in the summer.
The 26-year-old has scored 14 goals this season and has made eight assists to lead Be’er Sheva on the brink of the title with one game left to play.
The former Universitatea Cluj attacker moved from Hapoel Ra’anana to Hapoel Be’er Sheva last summer as a free agent and surpassed his best ever goal scoring record seven goals with his previous club.
Name: Anthony Nwakaeme
Club: Hapoel Beer Sheva
7. Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England)
Kelechi Iheanacho’s meteoric rise in his debut season for Manchester City has seen him ranked among the top ten emerging talents in the English Premier League.
The City wonder-kid propelled himself to stardom with a blistering first season at Ethiad Stadium. It took him only two minutes to open his goal-scoring account for City after firing blanks in his cameo appearance against Waford.
His spectacular hat-trick against Aston Villa in the Emirates FA Cup and other strikes marked him out as a huge prospect. According to Opta Stats, Iheanacho scores or creates a goal every 63 minutes.
Name: Kelechi Iheanacho
Club Manchester City
8. Anthony Ujah (Werder Bremen, Germany)
Anthony Ujah went on the longest goal drought of his career but managed to score 14 times in all competitions this season for the Werder Bremen as they fought off relegation from the Bundesliga.
He was one of the new forwards to the Werder Bremen squad this season and he didn’t disappoint considering his goal ratios in the past.
The 26-year-old surpassed his Bundesliga goal tally of ten goals for Cologne last season to equal his 11 goals for the Billy Goats in 2013/2014.
Name: Anthony Ujah
Club: Werder Bremen
9. Stanley Awurum (Varzim, Portugal)
Little known Stanley Awurum began his career with Varzim in the third division (Campeonato de Portugal Prio) and could only feature for 27 minutes throughout the season as the club gained promotion to the Segunda division.
But he gave a good account of himself in his second season becoming the club’s season top scorer with 14 goals as his team finished ninth on the log.
Name: Stanley Awurum
10. Kayode Olanrewaju (Austrian Wien, Austria)
Kayode Olanrewaju emerged as his club’s second highest scorer behind Alexander Gorgon in his debut season for Austria Wien who finished third in the Austrian Bundesliga this season.
The former Luzern forward bagged 13 goals to equal his tally for Maccabi Netanya in the Israeli Ligat Al last term. He scored a brace once in 34 appearances.
Name: Kayode Olanrewaju
Club: Austrian Wien