They say goals change games, Saturday afternoon in the Nottingham city sun, Elisha Sam did just that with his second of the match to turn an FA Trophy quarter final tie around from brink of defeat to within grasp of victory, but it wasn’t just a goal fit to win just another game… It was a goal fit to win a competition of goals, fit enough to turn an important Notts squad player into an overnight internet sensation too.
They say goals change games, well this goal could also change lives… Because suddenly everyone is talking about Eli Sam.
After the match, during the post-match interview, even before perhaps it had all sunk in, Eli, when asked the question on ‘how he did it’ replied “It’s unbelievable I have to say”.
Continuing in broken English with a beam across his face as wide as the distance between Nottingham and Antwerp where he was born, the Belgian forward stated “I saw the cross and I could not go for the header so I thought I’m just going to do this and when I touched it I saw it was a good touch and when I saw it go over the goalkeeper, in my head I went crazy”.
Sam, who is no stranger to scoring outstanding goals, has settled into lockdown life in Nottingham since joining Notts County from Arda Kardzali of the Bulgarian top flight but hasn’t always been a part of Neal Ardley’s National League side starting XI, scoring six in all competitions in fifteen matches, many from the bench, his strike rate is superb, the best before Saturday coming against Wealdstone in a 3-0 win as he nutmegged a defender on the touchline to cut in from the left and shoot low and hard past the goalkeeper, something he had done similarly many times across Europe for numerous clubs including at FC Eindhoven where he scored eight Eerste Divisie goals before moving to Bulgaria where he played in the Parva Liga.
His first of the game on Saturday against Oxford City a cracking individual effort itself, his second quite frankly ridiculous, something that has already been touted far and wide as a ‘Puskas’ goal of the year contender.
When asked if it was the best goal he had ever scored Sam said “This one is the best, by far away the best”
Already a million hits (and counting) across the internet, as folk far and wide view Sam’s scorpion effort from YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and more… The goal beamed on the devices of those as far as America and Australia, Sam all of a sudden is a name that people in football know.
And it comes as no surprise to those of us who have watched the 6ft5in talented powerhouse striker, picked up by a fantastic Notts County scouting system that gambled on bringing over a player still aged just 23, that has already played his football in five European countries including Belgium, Holland, Israel, Bulgaria and now England.
The hope is Sam can kick on and produce even more at Notts now the world is watching, a semi-final spot now means one-step from Wembley Stadium in the FA Trophy whilst league matters are focussed on promotion and the playoff race. A hat-trick of celebrations come the end of the year would be very welcome indeed should Sam help the Magpies to silverware, back to the football league, and to an incredible personal achievement of winning the lucrative FIFA goal of the year… Whom previous winners include Ronaldo, Neymar, Ibrahimovic, Giroud… Who’s winner last year saw Son Heung-Min run the length of the field to score for Spurs v Burnley… How Elisha Sam could suddenly headline a global event amongst the world’s elite for what he achieved in NG2 against little old Oxford City… Well wouldn’t that just be incredible.
Watch the goal here and relive the magical moment from Saturday’s win, when Elisha Sam did something freakish from an Adam Chicksen delivery to put Notts 2-1 up with a scorpian kick en-route to a 3-1 victory in the FA Trophy.
*Main image @Official_NCFC Eli Sam delighted with the internet following his goal deserved.