Samuel Adegbenro has put behind a difficult time in Norway to emerge top scorer in Sweden’s top flight and keep his bragging rights for bigger things and perhaps, grab Super Eagles’ chance, writes IKENWA NNABUOGOR…
IFK Norrkoping of Sweden Nigerian striker Samuel Adegbenro was the only bright spark for his Swedish side by emerging top scorer in the just concluded Allsvenskan this past weekend.
The 26-year-old Oshogbo-born marksman smiled home with the personal honour with 17 goals, but failed to add a last hurray to his haul in their last league game which they lost 2-1 to visiting IFK Gotenborg on Saturday.
Adegbenro’s 17 strikes were three more than top contenders champions Malmo’s German striker Antonio Colak and Degerfors’ Victor Edvardson to enter the Sweden’s soccer history books and become only the third Nigerian after Peter Ijeh (Malmo, 24 goals) and former Flying Eagles’ winger John Owoeri (BK Hacken, 17 goals) to earn such an honour for African players.
Interestingly, the former Rosenborg striker also becomes the fifth African player after his compatriots in the history books of Swedish football as well as the 11th foreign player on the honours’ list.
Adegbenro ended the top scorer’s race as a contest with two games left to draw the curtains having netting his winning 17th goal in their 1-1 draw when Djurgarden visited on November 22, leaving his top contenders needing a quadruple apiece to shade which they too also left it late to hand the last hurray to the speedy Nigerian.
Norway was his route to Sweden and the terrains there were not friendly to him as he struggled in front of goal to justify his investment from Nigeria.
Viking were his first port of call in 2015 where he managed only five goals in 24 games, but a further nine goals in two seasons landed him a dream move to the bigger Rosenborg but he would only wish he saw his Rosenborg stint as one of those things in his career as he continued hit the target sparingly.
Sweden just across the border provided a brand-new lease of life for the former Kwara United upstart even as he departed Rosenborg from the B team at the beginning of the 2021 season.
From enduring struggling to impress in the front of goal to mounting the podium for a garland round his neck and top scorer’s plaque firmly glued in both hands clearly summed up his glorious debut season in Sweden.
Not only making himself and club proud for the just concluded season which saw them saw finish seventh on the table, Adegbenro also reserves the honour of being named their best signing for the club in recent times.
So, where does thiese honours take Adegbenro to?
Just like Ijeh when he emerged top scorer in 2002, Adegbenro’s name could also pop up for consideration for a Super Eagles chance, but how much of a chance does he have with the armada of stars in the Eagles ranks and others also firing in much better competitive leagues waiting for a chance?
No doubt, Adegbenro’s Eagles wish could still remain in his dreams but could attract Eagles’ attention if he leaves Sweden to a more competitive league in Europe to continue shaking some nets.
What about a return on his investment for Norrkoping?
That’s one of the highlights of his impressive debut season and Norrkoping could cash on it to swell their bank balances.
At 26, going on 27 in the coming season, smart money will be on the Swedish side to sell and hand their most prized jewel opportunities to up his game and possibly grab an Eagles chance.
But before then he will keep his license to score for Norrkoping.
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