Nigeria Power Rankings sees Paul Onuachu set his Genk gig on fire

Football returned in near-full force in September across Europe, and while the majority of the leagues started without fans, Africa's players shut out the silence and performed at a high level.

Nigerian players were in action across the continent, and there was a bit of a shakeup in our top 10 rankings for this month, with last month's winner Tolu Arokodare missing out completely after a dream move to the Bundesliga restricted him to just two appearances for the period in question.


A striker's job is to score goals and Paul Onuachu more than delivered on that score, firing off five goals in three games for Belgium's Genk to begin his season on fire.

Onuachu opened by converting a penalty kick in Genk's 5-2 loss to Beerschot, and then proceeded to use his most valuable asset -- his head -- to score twice against Mechelen in a game where he really should have come away with a hat trick.

It was a complete performance for the beanpole striker, whose length and presence meant there were almost always two centrebacks giving him close attention, with not too much success.

He rounded up his month with another two strikes against KV Oostende. Sadly for him, it ended in a draw which leaves Genk in 11th place on the standings after seven games.

2. FRANK ONYEKA, FC Midtylland/DEN

Danish champions FC Midtylland are in the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history and Frank Onyeka has been an important part of that march to glory.

The 22-year-old's imperious form this season -- most of it in the Champions league qualifying stages -- continued in September as Midtylland triumphed over Ludogrets, Young Boys and then Slavia Prague over two legs.

Onyeka's midfield dominance, was central to that run. He finally capped it with a vicious volley in the 4-1 second leg won over Pragie that epitomized everything about his game.

He stepped up to press high on the pitch, won the ball off a dithering defender and then laid a pass for a teammate. He continued his run into the box to get the return pass and absolutely smashed the ball past the keeper.

The midfielder's form has earned him a first time call up to the Super Eagles squad, and now, equally importantly, a place on the Power Rankings.

Leonard Solms: Women's Power Rankings for September

Colin Udoh: Arokodare looks to Champions League with new club

Ed Dove: African players still to make a move this window


Nantes have made a slow start to the season, drawing once and losing twice in their opening three games, but it would be tough to place that blame on Simon.

The Nigerian has been far and away the best player for his club this campaign, just like he was the last one.

Almost all of Nantes' attacking plays run through him and his desire to take on players, carry the ball forward, and initiate attacks are usually what keeps the team going.

After a succession of near misses, and setting up others, Moses finally got himself on the scoresheet against Saint-Etienne, arriving at the back post to tap in a low cross.

4. WILFED NDIDI, Leicester/ENG

It is a shame that Wilfred Ndidi will be out of football for the next two months at the very least, after recent surgery to repair his adductor injury.

An affliction of injuries meant that Brendan Rodgers was forced to deploy the Nigerian as a centreback for the start of the season.

Ndidi not only slotted in seamlessly, he also acquitted himself with distinction, helping the Foxes to a two-win start, including a clean sheet against West Brom.

Sadly, that injury meant he would play no further part until at least December, but he had done enough to get himself in the Rankings.

5. SADIQ UMAR, Partizan/SER

Up at number two last month, Sadiq Umar drops down three places to number five this month after a slight drop-off in performance.

Although the forward opened with a goal in his very first game of the month, a 3-0 win at Rad Beograd, he was not to get another until the last game of the month.

But the Nigerian was still heavily involved in the club's excellent run of four wins in five games. Their only loss came in the Europa League playoff against Belgium's Sporting Charleroi. His form is starting to attract interest from elsewhere in Europe.


Goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe's decision to move to Lugano from SC Kriens is already proving to be inspired. Not only is he now playing in a top flight league, he also gets to be regular starter.

With only two games played in the season, Swiss-born Osigwe is the number one keeper and showed his mettle by making five saves in a 2-2 draw with FC Zurich, with his side down a man and under intense pressure.

But the pick of his performance would have to be a monster highlight reel save against Luzern, where he double-fisted away a rasping effort, then sprang up instantly to get a finger tip on a curling, goal-bound shot on the rebound.


After well over a year without competitive football, Nigeria fullback Tyronne Ebuehi is back in action on loan to FC Twente.

The 24-year-old has slotted in perfectly in Holland, talking part in all three games so far for the club and helping them to two wins and one draw, that draw coming against giants Feyenoord.

Ebuehi has taken over the right back slot, and while he has not been as adventurous as he normally is with Nigeria, his ability to keep pace with, and defend strongly against, opposing forwards has been an absolute boon.

Against Groningen, it was his raking diagonal ball through the middle on a rapid counter that created a chance for Queensy Menig to force a save that led to a corner kick, and then to a goal.


Junior Ajayi has been around the fringes of the rankings and he finally makes it into the top 10 this month.

Ajayi's dynamism and positive play have never been in doubt, and with Al Ahly racking up a record of five wins and two draws in September, Ajayi weighed in with one goal and three assists to keep them undisputed top of the log, 15 points clear of nearest rivals Zamalek.

9. PETER OLAYINKA, Slavia Prague/CZE

A dry spell in August for Peter Olayinka made way for some improvement in September. The forward scored the only goal for Prague as they lost 4-1 in the qualifiers second leg to Frank Onyeka's Midtjylland.

Prague failed to make it to the group stage of the Champions league, but Olayinka was also their best player in the first leg, which finished 0-0.


The 19-year-old returns for his second week in the Rankings after making his breakthrough last month at number four.

Boniface struck twice and added an assist to help runaway league leaders Bodo/Glimt to extend their lead to a whopping 18 points.

But it was in the Europa League that Boniface really shone, before they were eventually eliminated by AC Milan.

Against Zalgiris, he should have had a hat trick, or at the very least, a brace, instead of the one goal he was credited with.

First, he stabbed home from a corner kick to give his side a 2-1 lead. And then he forced a save that ended up shaving the crossbar by millimeters.

In the second half, he rounded the keeper, went wide but still forced a goalie clearance. And then his goalbound header from another corner kick was headed home by teammate Patrick Berg, denying the youngster his brace.


1. Paul Onuachu, Genk/BEL

2. Frank Onyeka, FC Midtylland/DEN

3. Moses Simon, FC Nantes/FRA

4. Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester/ENG

5. Sadiq Umar, Partizan/SER

6. Sebastian Osigwe, Lugano/SWI

7. Tyronne Ebuehi, FC Twente/NED

8. Junior Ajayi, Al Ahly/EGY

9. Peter Olayinka, Slavia Prague/CZE

10. Victor Boniface, Bodo Glimt/NOR