Uche and others striking out for Africa

Posted by Firdose Moonda

Selcuk Inan and Kalu UcheGettyImagesKalu Uche of Kimpasa competes against Turkish giants Galatasaray

When Nigerian international Kalu Uche signed for newly promoted Turkish club Kasimpasa at the start of the 2012-13 season, he had a feeling he had "chosen the right club to continue my career".

With nine rounds left to play in the Super Lig, it seems he was right. Kasimpasa are fourth in the table and on track to play in Europa League qualifying next season. Uche, who said he wanted to contribute to the overall success, leads the goal-scorers charts. Having netted 15 times, he has been dubbed the "undisputed goal king of Turkey", by a Nigerian website.

Their exaggeration can be forgiven because Uche has been in fine form for the club. He scored a hat-trick in his third match and has found the back of the net in the last five games.

For many, that is enough to merit a recall to the Nigerian side he represented 30 times, but not at the victorious 2013 African Nations' Cup. Uche left the camp with a groin injury but was also believed to have been a casualty of Stephen Keshi's strategy to use more local players.

The Big Boss is unlikely to change too much especially after it brought him great success but it would seem impossible to ignore Uche. He also has the perfect reason not to. Emmanuel Emenike will not play for Nigeria in their World Cup qualifier against Kenya on March 23 because of a hamstring strain and Uche would be an ideal replacement.

For now, he continues to fly under the radar, at home and abroad. The Turkish papers are not as enamoured with him as they are with Didier Drogba and his table-topping Galatasaray and the Nigerian dailies focus on Chelsea duo Victory Moses and John Obi Mikel more than they do on Uche.

A few lines here and there serve as reminder that he is blazing a trail in Turkey, is Nigeria's highest scorer in Europe and should be in line for a recall to the national team. He is not the only African enjoying great goal-scoring form. Africa's players are scattered around foreign leagues and they feature on many lists of top scorers.

In the Dutch Eredivisie, Ivorian Wilfried Bony is the league's leading light. He has scored 24 times for Vitesse, including two hat-tricks. His first came in October last year when he brought the club back from a goal behind three times to draw with Heerenveen. His second was on return from the ANC when they beat Heracles Alemelo 5-3. Zambia's Jacob Mulenga is sixth on the list and netted the winner in Utrecht's win over Waalwijk.

Another African pacesetter is Algeria's Rafik Djebbour. He is the top-scorer in the Greek Superleague where he has been stellar for Olympiakos with 20 goals.

Not lagging far behind is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He sits second in the French Ligue 1 goal-scorers list. One of his strikes was crucial in ensuring a 2-2 draw at Rennes at the weekend. He lies behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the second highest tally. The Gabon striker is reportedly on the wish-list of a number of English clubs with Arsenal and Chelsea both mentioned as interested in the Saint Etienne player.

Dieumerci Mbokani, who interrupted his ANC campaign with the Democratic Republic of Congo to link up with his Belgian club Anderlecht, with whom he won an award, shares second place in the Belgian Pro League with Ebrahim "Ibou" Sawaneh. Both have scored 17 goals.

Nigeria's Ahmed Musa and Ivory Coast's Lacina Troare are joint third in the Russian premier league having netted nine times each. In Portugal, Cameroon's Albert Meyong shares the same position with 13 goals for Vitoria de Setubal.

In possibly the most closely monitored overseas tournament, the English Premier League, Senegal's Demba Ba is in fourth place, having scored 15 goals this season. Above him are Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie and Gareth Bale, names no-one would be ashamed to be counted among.

ESPN Conversations