Fleet-footed Julius Ononiwu deservedly collected the Golden Boot award for the 2010 Metfone C-League top scorer Saturday having registered a record-breaking 25 goals for his Takeo based side Kirivong Sok Sen Chey. Ononiwu finished four clear of his nearest rival, Teab Vatanak of Naga Corp, and received a trophy and a cash prize of 2 million riels (US$470). The 22-year-old Nigerian striker, whose fluency with both left and right foots blended well with his body feints and skillful touches, had no doubt in his mind that this was one of the happiest times of his footballing career life.
“I’ve never had it so good and I cherish every one of those goals,” he said moments after being presented with his trophy.
As a product of the Nigerian state of Imo’s youth academy, Ononiwu shares a rich heritage and illustrious company. Phnom Penh Crown frontmen Uche Prince Justine and Olisa Onyemerea also hail from his home region, as do world renowned Chelsea star Salomon Kalou and former Barcelona and Nigeria player Emmanuel Amuneke.
“We are proud of his achievement,” said Kirivong manager Somay Sokea. “The first round did not go well for us – we had some internal problems – but in the second round the team performed quite well and Julius was our main plank.”
Ononiwu expressed his satisfaction with his placement. “I am very happy with Kirivong. They have looked after me quite well, and it is a good team to play for. I will stick around as long as I can, but that doesn’t preclude my search for bigger opportunities in neighbouring countries,” he said, adding that management had assured his release if he received an offer to play abroad.
Ononiwu has completed four seasons with Kirivong. “I enjoyed being part of my team’s ups and downs and I owe a great deal of this rich reward to my teammates. I have seen both our own standard and the quality of football in general go up.”