Four Nigerians that scored Premier League hat-tricks before Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho spearheaded Leicester’s hunt for a Champions League place in the 5-0 thumping of Sheffield United at the weekend.
Iheanacho was the star of the show with the Super Eagles striker bagging his first hat-trick in the Premier League and his second in English football. He scored three goals in Manchester City’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa in a fourth-round FA Cup game on January 30, 2016.
Before Iheanacho’s weekend heroics for the Foxes, there had been at least four Super Eagles players that have notched a hat-trick in the world’s most-followed football league.
To an average Arsenal fan, King Kanu cannot be forgotten in a hurry. His deft touches, silky movements and killer goals for the Gunners were exceptional.
Add a fantastic hat-trick against Chelsea in a London derby to the equation, you have yourself a club legend. That’s what Kanu became on October 23, 1999, when he helped Arsenal to come from two goals down to defeat Chelsea 2-3 at the Stamford Bridge.
Papilo’s feat is even more important considering that he came on as a substitute and scored his three goals in 15 minutes.
For many Nigerians, Yakubu evokes bitter-sweet memories. The Yak scored some amazing goals for the Super Eagles. But his inexplicable miss from six yards out in a must-win Group B game against South Korea at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is nightmarish.
Regardless of that, Yakubu was a goal machine in the Premier League. He scored a total of 119 goals in English football, playing for seven different clubs. 96 of those goals came in the Premier League.
At the height of his career, Aiyegbeni scored hat-tricks for Portsmouth, Middlesborough, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.
The former West Brom and Stoke City player was not exactly prolific. But he left West Bromwich Albion’s fans with memorable goals., including a debut goal at home to Sunderland.
Odemwingie scored 15 goals in his first season with the Baggies.
On February 12, 2012, Odemwingie hit a hat-trick past Wolves for the Baggies in a 5-1 away win in the Premier League. His 30 goals in 87 Premier League appearances is still a club record.
Efan Ekoku was a member of Nigeria’s Super Eagles team that dominated Africa at the 1994 Nations Cup in Tunisia. While the domineering Rashidi Yekini was a constant presence, Ekoku was a bit-part player.
But the England-born former Nigerian international has a record of his own that will never be taken away from him: On September 25, 1993, Ekoku scored four away goals to help Norwich demolish Everton 5–1 at Goodison Park.
On that day, he became the first player to score more than three goals in a Premier League game and the first Nigerian international to score a hat-trick in a Premier League game.