Posted by: westafricanfootball | 05/04/2012

GOALSCORERS IN WEST AFRICAN FOOTBALL

It’s no secret that most scouts and agents are firstly looking for goalscorers when tracking West African football. The five countries I write about, Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal, have a great reputation for producing dangerous attackers with an eye for a goal. For instance, it’s not that many years ago since the sensational Papiss Demba Cissé of Newcastle United FC played at top level of Senegalese football for AS Douanes. Perhaps a new world class striker is currently playing in West Africa?

In this post, I will focus on the players that are currently scoring goals or showing potential in front of goal in the five leagues I write about.

The picture is of Emmanuel Baffour of New Edubiase United FC and is taken from Ghanasoccernet. Baffour has scored 17 goals so far this season, making him the most dagnerous stiker in the five leagues I follow.

CAMEROON

Most teams in the Cameroonian MTN Elite One 2012 have played 11 matches at the time of writing, and to be honest, there are not many strikers standing out.

* Joël Moise Babanda (born 12.01.1980) of Union de Douala has scored six league goals and is the current top scorer in the Cameroonian MTN Elite One 2012. The veteran, formerly of ASO Chlef (Algeria), is the playmaker of Union de Douala, often controlling the flow of the team’s offensive play.

* Alex Ngamou (born 15.01.1990) of Unisport FC has either scored five or six league goals. According to Elitefoot, Ngamou scored for Unisport FC against Renaissance de Ngoumou on 01.04.2012. According to Livecamerfoot, it was Charles Eloundou Etoundi who scored. Ngamou was presented in my post from 03.04.2012: https://westafricanfootball.com/2012/04/03/alex-ngamou.

* Canon de Yaoundé has the most dangerous striking duo in the league, consisting of Philippe Ngom Balonga (born 01.04.1987) and Frédéric Nguidjol with 5 goals and 4 goals respectively. Balonga, who is often captaining his team, is more of a deep-lying forward while I believe that it is fair to say that Nguidjol is one of few natural goalscorers in the league. Canon de Yaoundé is in great form and I expect more goals for both players, especially for Nguidjol. Nguidjol was presented in my post from 07.07.2011: https://westafricanfootball.com/2011/07/07/frederic-nguidjol/.

* Jean Landry Bassilekin (born 23.01.1986) of Renaissance de Ngoumou has scored four goals during the four last matches. Bassilekin, a powerful center forward, is a former player of Foudre Sportive, and the following clip shows some of his qualities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6aXEjXi5T4.

* Dieudonné Evina Manga (born 22.12.1991) is an interesting striker at Astres de Douala. Evina Manga, signed from Aigle Royal Menoua before the season, has scored three goals during the five last matches.

* There are several other interesting strikers in the league who could score regularly, including Ernest Nsombo (born 06.03.1991) of Astres de Douala, Jacques Haman (born 30.08.1994), Didier Bassamagne Moundobou (born 01.06.1992) and Jusly Gitel Boukama Kaya (born 05.02.1993) of Cotonsport FC.  Patrick Anaba Metogo of Renaissance de Ngoumou is a promising youngster.

GHANA

The teams in the GLO Premier League 2011-2012 have played 22 matches at the time of writing.

* As far as I know, Emmanuel Baffour (born 02.04.1989) of New Edubiase United FC has played 20 of the 22 matches and scored an amazing tally of 17 league goals. During the season, Baffour, an all-round striker who is strong, fast and skillful, has became a fringe player of the Black Stars, the Ghana national football team.

* Yakubu Mohammed (born 26.07.1990), the burly striker of AshantiGold SC, is currently on fire, having scored 10 goals during the 10 last league games. Due to Mohammed’s poor start to the season, he currently has a total tally of 11 goals. Mohammed is strong as a bull and tends to go directly towards goal when he sees an opportunity. Personally, I am a big fan of Mohammed and his enthusiastic style.

* Strongman Richard Addai (born 27.07.1986) of Bechem United FC has scored eight goals, in other words 57 percent of all goals scored by his team so far this season. Addai is fundamental to his team, just as Louis Agyemang (born 04.04.1983) is at Medeama SC. The seven league goals scored by Agyemant makes him number three at the top scorer chart, behind Emmanuel Baffour and Yakubu Mohammed.

* Mahatma Otoo (born 06.02.1992) is only 20 years old but still has the main scoring responsibility at Hearts of Oak SC. At the time of writing, Otoo has scored six goals in 22 matches. In February, the Phobians signed James Kwame Abban (born 31.07.1988), Edward Affum (born 20.05.1989) and Karim Sadat (born 24.10.1989) to ease the pressure at Otoo, but none of these strikers has scored a single goal yet. Abban scored six goals for Liberty Professionals FC before joining Hearts of Oak SC.

* Latif Salifu (born 01.08.1990) of Liberty Professionals FC, who has scored four goals in the last five matches, is currently in top form. Salifu scored 12 goals during the GLO Premier League 2008-2009 and was tipped to be a future star. The petit striker, known for his blistering pace, struggled with injuries during parts of the GLO Premier League 2009-2010 (five league goals) and almost the whole of the GLO Premier League 2010-2011 (only two matches during the season), but is apparently back in shape and enjoying his partnership with the Gambian newcomer Ebrima Camara. Camara has only scored once during a handful of matches, but I have read reviews suggesting he is a player to watch.

* The teenage striking pair at Heart of Lions FC, consisting of Gilbert Fiamenyoh (born 06.07.1992) and Benjamin Fadi (born 16.03.1995), is worth checking out. Fiamenyoh has scored six goals in approximately 20 matches while Fadi has four goals in approximately 20 matches. Last month, Fadi was named in the squad of the Ghana U-20 national football team.

* Petit striker Ben Acheampong (born 15.09.1990) of Asante Kotoko FC has scored three goals in seven or eight matches and has impressed with his work-rate. Ahmed Touré (born 17.07.1987), the Ivorian star striker at Kotoko, has just returned to the first team after several weeks in the cold due to trials abroad and disciplinary problems. Touré has scored six league goals in 14 or 15 matches, but I expect him to score several goals during the last eight matches of the season. I know that fans of Kotoko are singing his name whenever Touré starts on the bench. When Touré is in form, he is arguably the best striker in the league, perhaps together with Emmanuel Clottey (born 30.08.1987) of Berekum Chelsea FC. Clottey has scored 7 goals in approximately 20 matches so far this season, not too impressive.

* Abubakar Sidi Soufian of Mighty Jets FC has had somewhat of a breakthrough this season, having scored five league goals.

IVORY COAST

At the time of writing, most teams in the MTN Ligue 1 2012 have played four or five matches. In other words, it is still early in the season and it is difficult to see any clear patterns.

* Interestingly, it is not easy to define the current top scorer in the MTN Ligue 1 2012. My guess is Moryke Fofana (born 23.11.1991) of EFYM with four league goals. I have found sources confirming that Fofana scored two goals when EFYM won 2-1 against ASI Abengourou on 11.03.2012. Information found on the homepage of the Fédération Ivoirienne de Football suggests that Fofana scored again on 24.03.2012 (against Stella Club) and on 31.03.2012 (against Issia Wazi FC). However, this is yet to be confirmed.

* According to the Fédération Ivoirienne de Football, striker Louis Philippe Anobile (born 16.11.1989) of USC Bassam has scored four league goals. However, the same source states that a player called “Don Lebatan Gnara” also has scored a goal for USC Bassam, which is interesting as the club has only scored four goals so far this season. Personally, I think Anobile has scored only three goals at the time of writing.

* Koelly Kevin Zougoula (born 20.03.1984) of Séwé Sport has already scored twice in four matches and the petit striker is my personal guess for the top scorer award this season.

* The first hat-trick of the new season was scored by “veteran” N’Dri Fabrice Kouadio (born 24.11.1984) of AFAD Djékanou on 29.03.2012. Kouadio is not a typical goalscorer and scored only twice during the MTN Ligue 1 2011. I expect the brilliant Yannick Zakri (born 26.03.1991) to wake up soon but he is apparently not in his best form at the moment.

* Koffi Kan Tobie Olie (born 22.09.1984) is an experienced and powerful striker at Africa Sports FC who I think can score regularly this season. His Nigerian teammate Patrick Friday Eze (born 22.12.1992) should also be able to break through this season. If these players fail, Africa Sports FC can always rely on veteran Goué Blagnon for goals.

* At SO Armée, veteran Jean Brossou Kpéhi (born 29.05.1984), Cameroonian striker Pierre Hervé M’Bena and the talented Jacob Philippe Okan Agoussi (born 23.12.1995) will be the players to watch.

* ASEC Mimosas has looked rather average so far this season and the club is screaming for a prolific scorer of goals. Hopefully, new signing Samba Diabaté (born 31.01.1986) will soon open his account. Diabaté has been scoring freely for Stella Club for several seasons, but the football history of ASEC has often showed that strikers from the smaller clubs struggles with expectations at the biggest club in the country. Perhaps Jean-Jacques Bougouhi (born 12.06.1992) could solve the scoring problems?

NIGERIA

At the time of writing, most of the teams in the Nigeria Premier League 2012 have played 18 matches. At times, it is difficult to use the statistics to define the best strikers in the Nigerian league. Several teams, often the biggest ones like Enyimba FC, Sunshine Stars FC and Heartland FC, swear to a rotation system, giving their strikers few chances to get into a flow of goals. It is also a problem in Nigeria that match reports often disagree on scorers of goals.

* However, everyone seems to agree on Mustapha Babadidi of Gombe United FC as the current top scorer. The teenage striker, who I believe is born in 1995, is arguably the most hyped player in the league and he was recently added in the squad of the Nigeria B national football team, having featured for the Nigeria U-17 national football team earlier in the season. Babadidi, a pacy striker with clinical finishes, has scored nine goals according to my statistics, and most other sources, but he claims that he has scored 10 goals. The goal in question was scored on 04.03.2012 against Heartland FC (2-2). Most sources will say that Babadidi scored the first goal and his striking partner Sani Sanusi scored the second, but Babadidi has explained that he in fact scored both goals. Sanusi, who is the more experienced of the two, has scored seven goals according to most sources.

* Chikeluba Francis Ofoedu, most likely born in 1992, has been a sensation at high-flying Rangers International FC and currently has eight goals to his name. The current season is the first season at top level for Ofoedu, who failed to win a contract at Espérance Sportive de Tunis from Tunisia in January 2012.

* Jafar Buhari of Kaduna United FC deserves credit for having scored six league goals for the struggling side. Buhari is a former player of Ranchers Bees FC.

* Kano Pillars FC always looks dangerous when fielding strongman Mohammed Gambo (born 10.03.1988 – five goals) and the sharp-shooting Mannir Ubale (born 02.07.1991 – four goals).

* ABS FC has performed better than expected and the attacking pair of Andrew Abalogu (five goals) and Abdulrahman Bashir (four goals) is one of their major strengths.

* Niger Tornadoes FC also has one of the most exciting attacking pair in the league, consisting of main striker Sibi Gwar (born 06.09.1987 – six goals) and deep-lying striker Daniel Essien Etor (born 05.05.1992 – three goals). Etor is arguably one of the most exciting players in the league. Interestingly, Gwar has traditionally played as an attacking midfielder, while Etor is primarily a winger.

* At Sharks FC, the promising Bright Ejike has scored five goals. Surprisingly, veteran goalpoacher Victor Ezeji (born 09.06.1981) has yet to score this season.

* Segun Alebiosu is a U-17 striker at Kwara United FC who has gotten some rave reviews this season, having scored four league goals in his first season at top level. Star striker Kabiru Sanusi has had a slow start to the season but has scored three goals during the last three matches.

* Osaguona Ighodaro (born 10.10.1990) has not scored in eight matches, but managed four goals during the first 10. Ighodaro has been one of few bright spots at Shooting Stars FC this season.

* Competition is tough at Sunshine Stars FC. Ukeyima Akombo (born 25.11.1987), Sakibu Atanda (born 20.03.1988), Izu Azuka (born 24.05.1989), Ajani Ibrahim (born 05.03.1987), Osamudiamen Idehen (born 13.05.1990) are Dele Olorundare are all quality strikers. At the time of writing, the scoring records of these players are as follows: Olorundare 4, Atanda 2, Idehen 2, Akombo 1, Azuka 1, Ibrahim 0.

* When Jude Aneke (born 07.01.1989) of Warri Wolves FC is in form, I believe he is the best striker in the league. Aneke has only managed three goals for his new club but Aneke is a feared man amongst defenders in Nigeria, who often tries to mark him out of the game. Interestingly, Aneke and teenage prodigy Augustine Amutu (two goals) are the only strikers who have scored for Wolves this season. However, the defenders and midfielders have scored more goals than expected and my theory is that the marking of Aneke makes room for the more defensive players at the team.

* I had expected more goals from Ifeanyi Egwim (one goal) and Adamu Mohammed (born 16.11.1992 – two goals) at Dolphins FC. However, I doubt that these players have played more than 10 matches so far this season.

* Brendan Ogbu and Kabiru Umar of Heartland FC have scored two goals each for the struggling side. Most experts of Nigerian football will regard these two players as top shelf in the league.

* Enyimba FC is a powerhouse in Nigerian football but their strikers have not been performing in front of goal. Ifeanyi Ede (born 05.12.1990) has only scored once and Uche Kalu (born 16.05.1986) has yet to score. “Bad-boy” Gbolahan Salami (born 15.04.1991) has scored three goals but is still too wasteful in front of goal. To their defense, Enyimba FC has used a lot of different players up front.

SENEGAL

The teams in the Senegalese Ligue 1 have currently played nine matches. It is not easy to find a more goal shy league and the strikers have a difficult job, facing rugged defenders and strict defensive play. However, there are still a couple of interesting attacking player to find.

* Alassane Diallo of US Gorée is the current top scorer. As far as I know, Diallo has scored five goals but I have not been able to find the scorer for USG on 10.03.2012 against CSS Richard-Toll (1-1). Diallo is a burly striker who is highly regarded in the local football of Senegal.

* Pape Sané of Casa Sport has scored four league goals for his new club. Sané, formerly of ASC Diaraf, is a big and strong centre forward with a lot of experience. Interestingly, proven goalscorers  such as Emile Paul Tendeng (born 31.12.1992),Aliou Coly and Alouise Thiaw have failed to impress in front of goal. Karim Ben Badji, Mamadou Diatta Ndiaye and Siaka Sané are more inexperienced attackers but especially Ndiaye looks very promising.

* Ousseynou Boye of Diambars is one of few natural predators in the league. Boye has always scored goals, both in the Senegalese Ligue 2, for the Senegal U-20 national football team and for the Senegal U-17 national football team. Boye is currently part of Senegal U-23. At the time of writing, Boye has scored four goals for the newly promoted side. The return of the more experienced Mignane Diouf (born 01.02.1989) makes the Diambars-attack even stronger.

* Veteran striker Alpha Oumar Sow (born 12.02.1984) has scored four goals in three matches for his new club ASC Diaraf. The towering Abdou Latif Guenoune has scored twice and the pair has a lot of muscles and strength.

* At Guédiawaye FC, leading striker Mouhamadou Dieng (born 01.01.1985) has scored three of four goals scored by his team.

* At AS Pikine, it is still leading striker El Hadji Adama Mbaye (born 18.12.1984) who looks most dangerous in front of goal. Mbaye has scored three goals so far this season.

* ASC Linguère looks poor this season. This is rather surprising since the team has some of the best attackers in the league. Mohamed Remy Gomis (born 24.11.1990) has only managed two goals, the same number as veteran Moussa Démbéle (born 28.11.1986). The talented Sérigne Cheikh Diouck (born 03.12.1990) has been struggling with injuries but recently returned to the first team. Mourchid Iyane Ly (born 28.12.1986) is widely regarded as a quality striker at this level, but Ly has yet to score this season. Ibrahim Dermé, the striker from Burkina Faso, has also failed to score. Teenage striker Mame Ibrahima Ndiaye is a player to watch at ASC Linguère.

* On 01.04.2012, Pape Bouna Thiaw (born 05.02.1981) made his debut for ASC Niary Tally. The experienced striker, formerly of FC Istres(France), RC Strasbourg(France) and Deportivo Alavés(Spain), will draw more people to the games. Young, talented strikers, such as Aziz Ba (born 25.12.1992), who has scored two goals so far this season, will probably learn a lot from playing alongside Thiaw.


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