Mfon Udoh poses with car he won from League Bloggers Awards last year
By Nduka Orjinmo
A
few years back in Aba, I watched Jude Aneke play for Warri Wolves against
Enyimba FC. He had signed for the Warri club having finished as highest goal
scorer in the league the previous season with Kaduna United-hitting 20goals and
setting a new goals-scoring record at that time.
Safe
to say he only pitched tent with the Wolves after several moves to sign for
Egyptian and Sudanese clubs fell through.
On
that evening in Aba, he toiled around all afternoon, largely disinterested in
the football around him. He lacked neither the passion nor energy to play
football. Aneke had lost his motivation. The skilled worker in him felt his
trade should have taken him abroad.
Fast
forward just a few years down the ever changing football calendar in Nigeria
and an almost similar situation is set to play itself out, in my opinion. Not
one to shy from putting money where his mouth is, I am going to place a bet on
it. But before you know what I am betting, here is my wager:
Mfon
Udoh, record goal scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football league, managed
by the League Management Company of Nigeria, won’t score 20(twenty) league
goals in the 2015 football season-for avoidance of doubt, that is the 2014/2015
season I believe.
His
Wikipedia page describes him as ‘a complete forward who possesses pace, good
positioning, natural finishing as well as the ability to provide assists. He is
a fox in the box type of player, difficult to stop once in the penalty area’.
To be fair to Udoh, he has merited such wealthy praise; 15 goals for Akwa
United, 23 for Enyimba in two seasons, marks him out as a real finisher.
But
therein lies the rub: I don’t think Mr Udoh can get 20 league goals this
season.
I
watched him once in 2014 in Kaduna against Kaduna United where his team ran
away 0-1 winners. No, Udoh did not score that day, Sokari Kingsley riffled in
the game’s only goal from a tight corner.
My
opinion of the Nigerian league is one that is brutal and crunchy. More
favourable to the defenders than the forward players. You will be hacked, you
will be bruised, you will be fouled as a first resort. Goals don’t come easy or
cheap, that’s why the record number of goals is 23. For the avoidance of being
misunderstood, several other factors that don’t concern this article might be
responsible for the low turn-out of goals in the league. I shouldn’t digress.
If
memory serves me right, only Victor Ezeji has been able to deliver a consistent
return of goals in the local league until he retired. Even he, didn’t cross the
20 goals mark.
It
has been difficult, if not almost impossible to really judge the goal scoring
prowess of the seemingly top strikers in the league. They have rarely given me
the opportunity to ascertain the depth of their skill-set and to wean them of
the fluke bottle which I think they suckle from. Even Chikeluba Ofoedu who
notched just 11 goals in 2012, had done enough to stamp his CV with a move
abroad. We truly have never really known.
But
here is an opportunity; record goal scorer, Mfon Udoh whose recent link with a
foreign clubside came from Belarus and Egypt is still with Enyimba. More
heart-warming is that the local league kicks-off in just about a week. So
finally, we might just have a chance to see if a true goals king has been born.
Honestly,
I think if he does stay with Enyimba, Mfon would be affected by the curse of
the skilled-worker. He would trudge through the football match, heart and soul
gone, like Jude Aneke, that evening in Aba.
But
because you never know these things in football, which ironically I am so sure
of, my bet is $1000 to Mfon Udoh if he scores 20(twenty) league goals in the
2015 season. For the avoidance of doubt, the exchange rate of the naira-dollar,
at the point where he gets 20, would be used when converting. I am also very
sure he won’t get 15 goals, but if he thinks he can, I would give him $500 at
the point when he does. Again, the exchange rate of the naira-dollar at that
point would be used.

Quite
frankly, I think it’s easier to predict how many league goals he would score
than predicting the slide of the naira. And by the way, Wikipedia’s latest
offering on Jude Aneke says he now plays his football in Kazakhstan.  

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