The spotlight in Nigeria falls on Paul Onuachu after his 10 second goal

Published on: 27 March 2019

Paul Onuachu is the toast of Nigerian football after he scored the only goal inside 10 seconds against Egypt on his full international debut.

The 24-year-old's strike is Nigeria's fastest ever international goal, which helped the Super Eagles to their first victory over the Pharaohs in 29 years.

The goal has got his coach, team-mates, journalists and fans talking about him.

"He's played twice but I think we have something special in this player," coach Gernot Rohr told BBC Sport.

"We shouldn't get too carried away. Onuachu gives us a different option and alternative in attack."

The goal came when midfielder John Ogu lobbed the ball forward for the Denmark-based forward to collect and round the defender with one touch and then scored with his second to stun Egypt.

According to Uefa the fastest ever competitive international goal was scored by Belgium's Christian Benteke just after 8.1 seconds against Gibraltar in October 2016.

Onuachu moved to Danish club FC Midtjylland in 2012 from their satellite club in Nigeria, FC Ebedei and has attracted interest from Spanish, French and Dutch top sides.

A great finisher, Onuachu is technically good, has a good first touch as well as impressive link-up play and his sensational start to international football has got everyone talking.

He only made his international debut as a substitute against Seychelles last Friday, yet experienced team-mate Leon Balogun is impressed with his overall performance.

"At the first training I was like wow! He has a lot of potential and showed during the first session that he is special," Balogun told BBC Sport.

"We just need to take it easy and not put him under too much pressure because he's a quiet and focused young player.

"I am very happy to see a player of this quality in our team."

Not getting carried away

Despite all the accolades and adulation, the player is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

"I am very happy to score my first Nigerian goal in such a nice way, but it was only one game," he told BBC Sport.

"To be honest I was also surprised that it came that early in the game but this is football and I can only thank my team-mates.

"I still have a lot of work to do because my dream is to continue to represent my country.

"I would love to play for Nigeria in the Nations Cup but I must fight hard to earn a place among the squad."

His display also caught the attention of the sometimes hard-to-please fans and media.

"This boy is good and I wonder where he has been all along," sports journalist Philip Balepo said.

"He's like the younger version of (former Nigeria international) Thompson Usiyen in his style of play and discipline. A player like this is very rare."

Impressive in the Danish league and European competitions, his height of 6ft 7inch also caught the attention of some fans.

"We've never had a striker this tall since Rashidi Yekini (Nigeria's record top scorer with 37 goals) and Onuachu will be dangerous for our opponents in Egypt," Asaba-based trader, Festus Okoye, added.

Another fan, businessman Mike Osita says he is the latest player that could be likened to legend Kanu Nwankwo in the current set up.

"He plays just like Kanu in terms of skills and intelligent play in the box. When you see him play then you can tell he's the only player that we can compare to Kanu at the moment."

Source: BBC

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