Boniface: Unsung Nigerian painting Europe with goals


Little-known Union St. Gilloise striker, Victor Boniface, has delivered goals and some superb displays this season both in Norway and Belgium and is arguably the most in-form African striker in Europe this season, at least his goals can attest to that.

Relatively unknown back home, Boniface has contributed to the successes of St. Gilloise, who surprisingly find themselves in fourth place this season, level on points with third-place Club Brugge, and eight points behind leaders, Genk, in the Belgian topflight.

He has grabbed all the headlines in Belgium, just like he did at Norwegian giant-killing side Bodo/Glimt, who let their prized asset join UnionUnion on August 8, on a four-year deal worth €2m.

In previous seasons, it has been customary for the Nigerian top scorer charts to be headed by Napoli’s Victor Osimhen or Genk’s Paul Onuachu, who both scored over 20 goals in the 2021/22 season, however, Boniface has ushered in a new era with a bang, and looks poised to break both strikers’ records this season.

Among Nigerians abroad, no one comes close to the 21-year-old, who moved to St. Gilloise in the middle of the Norwegian campaign from Bodo/Glimt. However, Boniface didn’t waste time to get down to work in Belgium, and he continues to find the net both in the domestic league and in Europe, netting and making goals.

While Osimhen has scored five goals in nine games for Napoli in all competitions, Onuachu has found the back of the net eight times in 11 games in the Belgian Pro League.

Boniface’s tally for this season blows both elite strikers’ out of the water with 19 goals scored this season. The 21-year-old scored 13 goals for Bodo/Glimt before he joined Union Saint-Gilloise and in 16 games for his new team, the in-form forward has found the back of the net six times – three in the league and three in the Europa League.

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Boniface has proved in recent times he is worth a chance in the Nigerian national team and should Jose Peseiro look at results instead of big names, surely the 6’4 striker will get a chance in the national team.

Boniface’s closest association with his country’s national team was in the U-20 team but even that was marred by an injury that forced him to withdraw from the 2019 U-20 AFCON in Niger Republic.

Not long after that, Norway welcomed this budding giant from Nigerian youth side Real Sapphire for his first stint at European football.

Now 21, and better polished into a whole new man, Boniface’s stock continues to rise despite having to deal with an unforgettable injury nightmare for a whole season in 2021, coming back fully and more determined.

Gangling and galloping like a gazelle, Boniface is quick off the mark despite his huge frame, which stands at 1.93 metres. He is strong and has two useful feet, as well as also operate as a winger or a second striker.

These attributes should be music to the ears of Peseiro, who must do everything to succeed and Boniface swells his options in attack. The Portuguese will be happier for it, after all the more the merrier, they say.

Boniface is also a good sight to behold playing behind the strikers when he isn’t foraging from the wings and this versatility will come in good for the Super Eagles, someday.


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