Girondins-Bordeaux of France striker, Josh Maja made history in Ligue 1 on Tuesday night, as he became only the fourth Nigerian player to score a hat-trick in the top-flight league, with a lofty citation revealing that his feat ranks high in a span of 50 years.
The 20-year-old former Sunderland of England striker, who has a single Super Eagles’ invitation to his name, made hay with three goals against Nimes, in a stunning 6-0 win for his, thereby joining the elite class of Peter Osaze Odemwingie, Victor Okechukwu Agali and John Chukwudi Utaka, as Nigerians who scored trebles for various clubs in the French league.
The soft-spoken lad made his mark at Stade Matmut Atlantique Stadium, where he and his pals defied a delay of 25 minutes to get into their strides, after protesting fans caused concern in the stands, and he later struck a 24th sizzler to open the floodgate of goals.
While Maja’s first goal had to be checked by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) before it was then allowed to stand, he was undaunted and returned with number two in the 37th minute, then made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute, to continue his scoring form that began last Saturday in his club’s 1-1 draw away to Stade Reims.
Five minutes after completing his hat-trick, Maja, who was later replaced by Toma Basic in the 75th minute, provided an assist for Nicolas de Preville to make it four, following which Henrique Otavio also struck in the 76th and 87th, while his club mate and compatriot, Samuel Kalu got off the bench in the 66th to replace Nicolas de Preville.
Maja, who joined Bordeaux from Sunderland on a four-and-a-half-year contract in January, has now scored five goals this term, to join the best scorers aged 20 or under in the top five Euro leagues, and will aim to continue with his form away to Olympique Marseille on Sunday.
A citation in honour of Maja’s feat, though, noted that he still has a long way to go in equaling the all-time Nigerian hat trick hero in the French league, as Utaka actually struck three different trebles during his time in Ligue 1 with Stade Rennes, OGC Nice and Montepellier.
Nonetheless, Maja will take tremendous delight in his ability to eventually get his much-desired breakthrough in the ranks of Bordeaux, where had been forced to play more of a bit-part role in the team that climbed to third place on the Ligue 1 table with 26 points.
The citation posted via @OptaJean read: “Josh Maja has become against Nîmes the 4th Nigerian player to score 3+ goals in a Ligue 1 game in the last 50 years, after Peter Odemwingie, John Utaka (3 times) and Victor Agali. Majacian. #FCGBNO.”