The Belgian Ebony Shoe 2014 goes to Standard Liège’s Michy Batshuayi

Michy Batshuayi takes home the Belgian Ebony Shoe 2014 after a strong season with Standard Liège. The award is given to the best player in the country of African descent and Batshuayi, a Belgian of Congolese descent, has beaten Lokeren’s Hamdi Harbaoui and teammate Paul-José Mpoku. While Liège and Batshuayi are having a difficult time finding their best form in the Play Offs, the 20-year-old certainly deserves the prize after his excellent performance in the regular competition.

You could ask if this prize should still be awarded. In 1992, Daniel Amokachi was the first winner of this award for the best African player, or of African origin, in Belgium. In 2014 it’s arguably not necessary anymore to have awards based on ethnicity. But that could be a discussion we’ll still have in 50 years.

Other famous players who have won the Belgian Ebony Shoe were Céléstine Babyaro, Emile Mpenza, Eric Addo, Ahmed Hossam (Mido), Aruna Dindane, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku. The least you can say is that Michy Batshuayi is in good “Kompany”. We’ll find out in the near future whether Batshuayi will be able to achieve the same as his predecessors.

2. Hamdi Harbaoui (Sporting Lokeren)

The striker from Tunisia is the current top scorer in the Belgian competition. Quite an achievement when you know that he missed some games after having some disputes with his coach Peter Maes. The strong striker is clinical in the box and one of the best in the competition when it comes to aerial ability.

Harbaoui wanted to leave Lokeren in January but president Roger Lambrechts didn’t want to sell his powerful striker. Harbaoui wasn’t very pleased but still gave everything for his club. Things changed and it looks like both club and player are happy again and the 20-year-old could extend his stay with the Tricolores.

3. Paul-José Mpoku (Standard Liège)

The winger of Standard Liège would probably have won this trophy if he was a bit more consistent. One of the biggest talents in Belgium, he left Standard Liège in 2008 for Tottenham Hotspur. Things didn’t work out the way he wanted and even after a good loan period with Leyton Orient he returned to Belgium ready to prove that Tottenham should have given him a fair chance.

Mpoku showed already last season in the Play Offs that he’s still one of the best youngsters in Belgium. Guy Luzon made him more important for the team this season and the 22-year-old has shown he is more mature and is now a complete football player.

Standard's golden trio Paul-José Mpoku, Michy Batshuayi and Imoh Ezekiel

Standard’s golden trio Paul-José Mpoku, Michy Batshuayi and Imoh Ezekiel

4. Vadis Odjidja (Club Brugge)

The Club Brugge midfielder had some injury problems this season and that probably cost him some points. Odjidja is Club Brugge’s key midfielder again under Michel Preud’homme. Because of his polyvalence he’s important in both attack and defence for his club.

Last year, Odjidja almost joined Everton but because the official fax arrived one minute too late the transfer didn’t go through. At 25, feels he’s ready for a bigger competition but he’ll have to wait if clubs like Everton still have him on their list.

5. Imoh Ezekiel (Standard Liège)

Imoh Ezekiel started the season furious with teammates Batshuayi and Mpoku. He was involved in a lot of goals for Standard Liège and certainly Batshuayi benefited from Ezekiel’s great performances. He was the first defender of the team and is as fast as lightning.

The last months his form decreased a bit. Guy Luzon also prefers the experience of Igor De Camargo in the crucial Play Off phase. He has great potential but it is difficult to say if he will ever be a top player in Europe. Imoh Ezekiel is still able to play for both Belgium or Nigeria.

(Pictures: Belga)

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