Victor Boniface Versus Samuel Eto’o: Comparing African Stars' Numbers at the Age of 23

Victor Boniface Versus Samuel Eto’o: Comparing African Stars' Numbers at the Age of 23

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at May 22, 2024 at 6:50 AM
In this article:
Victor Okoh Boniface logo
V. O. Boniface
Bayer Leverkusen logoFNigeria logo
Samuel Eto'o logo
S. Eto'o
-FCameroon logo
Bayer Leverkusen logo
Bayer Leverkusen
Mallorca logo
RCD Mallorca
FC Barcelona logo
FC Barcelona
Nigeria logo
  • Victor Boniface won the 2023/24 Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen
  • The Nigerian missed nearly four months of action, but he was superb
  • His stats at 23 are good compared to Barcelona legend, Samuel Eto'o

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Victor Boniface has been one of the biggest stories from Europe's top leagues in the 2023/24 season.

The Nigerian excellent performances helped Bayer Leverkusen win their first German Bundesliga title.

He missed nearly four months with an injury but has helped his team to the cusp of a campaign treble.

Samuel Eto'o, Victor Boniface, Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, Cameroon, Nigeria, Inter Milan, Mallorca
Victor Boniface has a way to go to match Samuel Eto'o's accomplishments. Photos by Jörg Schüler and Jasper Juinen.
Source: Getty Images

Every young African striker has always been compared to legends and standard-setters like Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba.

The retired football legends were among the best players in the world at that time, and Boniface is heading in that direction.

Boniface and Eto'o had similar paths to the big leagues in Europe. The Cameroonian played for some prestigious clubs, such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Inter Milan.

The 43-year-old scored vital goals at his peak and won every club trophy available, leaving a lasting impact on the African continent. At 23, Eto'o was in Europe, like Bonicace, but how do their numbers at that age compare?

Victor Boniface's career numbers

Before his success at Leverkusen, Boniface had to overcome several stumbling blocks.

In his early days in Europe in 2018, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament at Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt. A second ACL injury ended his hopes of joining Club Brugge and would keep him out for 12 months.

He also admitted that the loss of his mother in 2019 deeply affected him.

"I stopped paying attention to my diet and started partying," he said per BBC. "I was not even a drinker before then, but I started drinking just to feel something. I was depressed and didn't even realise it."

The 23-year-old didn't allow those setbacks to hold him back. He bounced back and won the 2020 and 2021 Norwegian league before Union Saint-Gilloise (USG) came calling. At Bodo/Glimt, he scored 23 goals in 66 appearances.

He joined the club in 2022 and spent only one season before moving to Germany. Boniface and USG narrowly missed out on the league. At the club, he bagged 17 goals in 51 appearances.

This season, he has 21 goals in 33 matches, which is an incredible level of efficiency. With the Bundesliga in the bag, the Super Eagles star could win the DFB Pokal and the Europa League.

Samuel Eto'o numbers at 23

The Cameroonian is considered the greatest African player ever. He has the numbers and silverware to back that up.

At 23, he had played for Real Madrid but struggled to secure a spot in the team, forcing him to search for greener pastures at Mallorca.

He played his first La Liga season in 1998/99, but he didn't become a regular in the league until the 1999/00 season at Mallorca.

That season, he played 13 matches and scored six times. In the following three seasons, his goal tally improved. He celebrated his 23rd birthday in March 2004.

By that time, he was a household name, and the following year, he would be wearing the colours of Spanish giants Barcelona. At the club, he won many trophies, scored more goals and played with Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho.

By the end of the 2003/04 season, Eto'o had scored 70 goals in 173 matches. Here's a summary of how that compares to those of Boniface's.



Victor Boniface



Samuel Eto'o



All stats courtesy of Transfermarkt.

Boniface wins top Bundesliga award

Sports Brief previously reported on Boniface winning the Rookie of the Season award after an incredible 2023/24 Bundesliga season.

The Nigerian international edged out Ian Maatsen of Borussia Dortmund, Maximillian Beier of Hoffeinhem, and Xavi Simons of RB Leipzig.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.