Current Club: Caracas F.C. (Venezuela)
DOB: 3 March 2000
Birthplace: Porto-Novo, Benin
Height: 173 cm (5’8)
Weight: 74 kg (163 lbs)
|Fortuna Liga Slovakia
|Youth National Team
Samson Akinyoola is a pure poaching striker who operates on the back shoulder of the defensive line and thrives in the opposition penalty area. At 22-years-old the Benin-born forward embarked on an early European adventure in Slovakian football before trying his luck in the top division of Venezuela where he has transformed into a match changing goal scorer who is now showing his skill in South America’s Copa Libertadores. Akinyoola excels at getting the ball off his feet quickly to unleash powerful shots with either foot and is only improving his finishing ability in South American football.
While Akinyoola is excellent in the opposition penalty area he offers little outside of his ability to score. He needs to improve his skill at contributing to his team’s buildups and will need to be better with his crossing and final balls in order to operate as a wide forward in a 4-3-3. Akinyoola also has little presence on aerial duels due to his lack of size and has room to grow as an outlet who can hold the ball up. However, his specialty as a poacher will always be valuable to a coach and he can still thrive as the focal point in a 4-3-3 or with a striking partner in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2.
Adem Zorgane is an intelligent and technically-skilled central midfielder who likes to sit deeper in a #6 role in order to see more of the ball. Acts as a playmaker and has advanced passing skills that can serve to maintain possession or provide incisive balls to break down opposing defenses. Zorgane’s technique and composure on the ball, whether he is given time or is under duress, suggests a move to higher levels is imminent. However, scouts will be highly concerned about his significant lack of speed and athletic ability.
General Pros and Cons
+ Gets the ball off his feet quickly for shots and has excellent instincts in the penalty area. A poacher extraordinaire.
+ Excellent acceleration into open space with or without the ball. Defenders must always stay alert of his presence.
+ Powerful shot with his right foot and continues to improve with his left. On his way to being as much of a threat with his left foot as his preferred right.
– Has little to no ability at this point when attempting to provide the final ball. Lacks the ability to find teammates with crosses or through balls.
– Can have tunnel vision when in the attacking third. Needs to understand better when to have patience and play in his teammates and when to go for goal.
– Little aerial presence. Improvement is needed at holding up the ball to be more of a #9 and make up for his lack of height and inability to win headers outside of the penalty area.
+ Very good acceleration to explode into open space with or without the ball, allowing him to thrive on the break.
+ Good lower body strength for holding the ball up against taller defenders. Difficult to budge off the ball when in possession.
– Average lift on his jump. Rarely wins headers on long balls for the back due to lack of height and often avoids aerial duels unless he is attacking crosses.
+ Tidy in the penalty area. Gets the ball off his feet to shoot quickly and strikes ball with pace off either foot.
♦ Maintains high pace when on the dribble but is not particularly good at beating defenders 1v1. Depends on his pace to beat defenders off the dribble and needs open space to excel.
– Lacks touch on his passing and the ability to weight through passes behind the defense for runners.
– Poor crosser of the ball when he attempts service from out wide. Hits hopeful crosses instead of picking out a target.
+ Brilliant instincts in the penalty area. Is always looking to find an angle to shoot and has excellent poaching instincts.
– Still has plenty of work to do with his decision making on the ball. Has plenty of confidence but can frustrate his teammates by trying to do too much and going for goal too often.
+ His speed and work rate stretch defenses and keep the opposition defense occupied to create openings for fellow attackers.
– Lacks the playmaking and crossing ability to operate on the wings in a modern day 4-3-3. Positionally limited.
– Needs to be more useful as a dribbler particularly when in more congested areas. Too many unnecessary turnovers on the dribble when a simple pass would be more useful and also is not as effective in 1v1 situations as he is capable of being.
Rankings are from the last calendar year (May 2021-22) and includes 731 players in the Liga Venezolana:
Akinyoola gets plenty of opportunities in Venezuela’s top division due to his pace and willingness to shoot, thriving in league play by leading all scorers in the past year. Playing for a team that competes at the top of the league generates numerous chances for him to get behind the defense and create shots as well as opportunities to attack the ball in the penalty area. His goals compared to xG (expected goals) shows that he is quite efficient if not quite at the top compared to some of the other top scorers in the league. At this point Samson still has work to do in picking his moments to shoot and putting the ball on target. Let’s take a deeper look at his numbers:
Statistics are from 62 strikers in the Liga Venezolana who have played a minimum of 1000 minutes in the last calendar year (May 2021-May 2022:
|Shots on Target
|Off. Duels Won
Akinyoola stays active, always trying to attack defenses with the ball at his feet and attempting shots. However, his efficiency is not as great as it can be. The numbers suggest that his mentality of always trying to go for goal can sometimes result in Caracas FC missing out on better opportunities when he attempts shots and fails to put them on target. Akinyoola plays his role well as a poacher who seeks goals but it appears that there is still another level he can reach when it comes to efficiency on his shooting and dribbling. Next lets take a look at the same group of statistics in a higher level of competition, South America’s Copa Libertadores:
Statistics are from 26 strikers in the 2022 Copa Libertadores who have played a minimum of 400 minutes:
|Shots on Target
|Off. Duels Won
The signs in this set of numbers are encouraging because it shows that Akinyoola remains unafraid to take on defenses even with his team often competing as the underdog. When the competition is more even it allows more opportunities for him to operate in space as opposed to facing smaller teams in Venezuela who will sit in a deeper and more defensive posture. While some of the same issues of efficiency are apparent, Akinyoola’s statistics in South America’s version of the Champions League highlights the strides he has made over the past two years in Venezuelan football.
Evaluation: Good option for a higher level European second division
Akinyoola has improved greatly since his first adventure in European football with Senica in Slovakia’s top division, and since his move to Venezuela is cultivating his talents for another attempt in Europe. At this point he would certainly be an intriguing option but he will need to be the main focus of his next team’s attacks like he is with Caracas. It is unlikely he would fit into a good top division European league like Belgium, Portugal or Denmark because his tactical use is very limited and he is still learning to be more efficient as a pure striker. However, a good European second division like Portugal’s second tier, France’s Ligue 2 or the top division in a country like Sweden might be a more appropriate fit.