February 27, 2024

Napoli, Osimhen sees Weah: with one goal he will write Serie A history

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The Neapolitan is just a goal away from the Liberian, the top African bomber in our championship. And the other Nigerian, Lookman, the Angolan Nzola, the Senegalese Dia are also flying to Italy

One goal, only one. And Victor Osimhen will give Monsieur le président George Weah a big push. He still sits on the throne of the top African goalscorer in Serie A history with 46 goals. Even without his mask of happiness lost on his return from Nigeria, the engagement could already take place on Sunday night at Maradona’s game against Milan, the team in which the current Head of State of Liberia played between 1995 and 2000, raising the Golden Ball took to the skies at Meazza, the first year the award finally crossed European borders (1995).

Weah made history as the first non-European footballer to win football’s most prestigious individual trophy. Passing His Majesty George isn’t even quoted by bookies given the pace at which O simhen is traveling in the league: a goal every 91 minutes. Of those players who have scored at least 20 goals in a single Serie A season, only four have outperformed Napoli’s Nigerian center forward in the three-points-for-win era: Muriel (one every 65 minutes in 2020- 21), Vieri (one all 78′ in 2002-03), Higuain (one all 83′ in 2015-16) and Immobile (one all 88′ in 2019-20).

Cyclone Osimhen looks no one in the face and sweeps away everything in his path. His 21 league goals doubled poor Milan and overshadowed another African legend, Samuel Eto’o, who scored as many goals as post-triplet Inter in the 2010/11 season. Victor’s agonistic rage echoes loudly across Europe. That hungry approach to the game of starting like crazy, immediately biting the opponent and then finishing him off mid-game: Only Harry Kane has been able to score the first goal of the game (eight against seven) in more games than the Neapolitan. in the top five tournaments in Europe this season. Cyclone Osi against “hurricane”, the hurricane, clash between primal forces.

Victor and his brothers

Victor remains by far the most prolific of the Africans, even expanding the spectrum of major continental tournaments to ten. Five goals more than fellow Nigerian from Genk, Paul Onuachu (16), and 6 against Senegalese from Strasbourg, Habib Diallo. Liverpool’s pharaoh Momo Salah and Ajax youngster Mohamed Kudus are stuck at 11, Bayern fox Choupo-Moting is just 10. Among Europe’s top African goalscorers, four play in Serie A: alongside Osimhen, Spezia’s Mbala Nzola, Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman and Boulaye Dia by Salernitana. No other major league has scored as many goals in double digits. This wave of African bombers is also characterized by the young age of their protagonists. Osimhen is 24, with Lookman following him at 25, just a year more for Nzola and Dia: the African wind won’t stop anytime soon in Serie A, scoring goals in Atalanta’s last five in the league after holding a hand-in-five Goals and three assists in the last five, Dia has scored in two straight games with Salernitana and has not scored three straight goals in La Liga since last September. The Senegalese striker has already gone down in the history of the Campania club as the fourth to score in double figures in a single Serie A season: ahead of him Renzo Merlin (10 goals in 1947/48), Marco di Vaio (12 in 1998/99) and Federico Bonazzoli (10 in 2021-22). Salernitana will travel to La Spezia on Sunday afternoon for a very delicate rescue challenge but will not find Nzola who is both disqualified and injured. The Ligurians have not won any of the four games they missed. In short, Africans more than important: necessary.

The dark years of Zigulì

But it wasn’t always like that. Thirty years have passed since the first African goal in the league. It was February 14, 1993 when Roger Mendy, the Senegalese defender wanted by coach Galeone, gave Pescara the lead in their home game against Brescia. Galleon was not rescued and Mendy soon disappeared from the radar but went ahead for the first wave of Africans. In fact, Weah arrived just two years later, followed by a trail of future champions: Eto’o, Taribo West, Gervinho, to name a few… Before Mendy, there was a void that testified to the skepticism that those latitudes at the time wrapped . In fact, we have to go back twelve years to find the first African to set foot in Serie A: François Zahoui, Ivorian, attacking midfielder for Ascoli in 1981-82. He earned a million and 200,000 lire a month and was nicknamed Zigulì, after the color of the famous liquorice candy. Then Mazzone only threw him in when he won or drew to send him offside and gain seconds. Today Osimhen scores one goal per game and already sees the Scudetto. The two extremes of the African parable in Series A.

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