Hamdallah, Ighalo and the African attackers scoring freely at Saudi Pro League clubs
Saudi Pro League clubs in search of a goal scorer could do worse than look towards Africa, based on 2022/23’s performances.
Nearly half (nine) of the top-20 marksmen in Roshn Saudi League up to matchweek 18 hail from the continent.
Some of them are the usual suspects. Nobody will be surprised that Morocco goal machine Abderrazak Hamdallah is the highest placed, third overall with 11 strikes for title-chasing Al Ittihad.
The 32 year-old is, after all, a two-time golden boot winner in the competition.
Then Odion Ighalo is joint fourth, again, a name that most would expect to see. The Nigerian was the top scorer last season with 24 goals, divided between Al Shabab and Al Hilal.
He helped Al Hilal come from behind to win the title in 2021/22. The ex-Manchester United centre forward is aiming to do something similar this term after netting eight times, including January’s clincher at Al Ittihad.
Joint eight on the list comes a player not as well-known to Saudi Arabian fans before this season, but Anthony Nwakaeme has been banging them in for Al Fayha with six so far.
Unlike Al Hilal or Al Ittihad, his club are not challenging for the title but are in the bottom half of the table. This makes the Nigerian’s exploits all the more impressive, as does the fact that his natural home is on the left wing.
Al Tai magician Amir Sayoud has also slotted home the same number. The Algerian playmaker has produced several moments of individual genius, most recently versus third-placed Al Shabab.
For joint-11th, we go back to North Africa, this time Tunisia. Saad Bguir is now in his fourth season with Abha and has been quietly scoring for the team ever since arriving from Esperance on a free transfer in 2019.
He’s up to five for this term, including several scorching long-distance efforts.
Also on five goals is Guy Mbenza. It was a real coup for Al Tai to sign the Congo striker who had been banging them in for three-time African champions and Moroccan powerhouse Wydad AC.
His link-up with Sayoud has been key.
There is still room in the top-20 for three more African attackers.
Al Raed favourite Mohamed Fouzair has notched the same tally. The Moroccan midfielder’s highlight was September’s firm strike against Ettifaq.
The Buraidah outfit can also be exceedingly happy with their summer decision to draft in Cape Verde centre forward Julio Tavares, after a two-year stint at relegated Al Faisaly.
The 34-year-old has responded with five strikes.
Timeless Algeria veteran Hillal Soudani remains a constant threat. The former Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest forward is Damac’s top scorer, on five goals.
Overall, with African forwards going well in Saudi Arabia, clubs are going to keep looking west when they are hunting for goals.