TEAM: Jiangsu Suning
FORMER TEAM: Lorient
The latest addition to the Chinese Super League has got off to a quick start with two goals in two matches already. Never heard of the Cameroon International? Dive in!
Benjamin Moukandjo began his grassroots development in the Kadji Sports Academy in his hometown in Cameroon aged just 10. He rose through the ranks at the club and made his debut for the senior team in 2007. Moukandjo spectacularly burst onto the scene scoring an impressive 12 goals in just 15 games. People flocked from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the young Moukandjo in action.
Moukandjo’s heroics made him famous not only in his native Cameroon but also turned the heads of a number of scouts and talent spotters. It was only a matter of time before a dream switch to one of the top European leagues became a reality. And it was French club Rennes that signed a player full of potential.
Moukandjo did not initially join the first team setup at his new club but turned out regularly for their reserve setup. Like in Cameroon, Moukandjo played some good football but it often seemed as if the game being played was a step ahead of his. He went on to make 14 appearances for the reserves before making a loan move to L’Entente SSG. It was not the best of moves for the still young Moukandjo. He made a mere 11 appearances in the temporary move and failed to but the ball into the back of the net even once.
Benjamin Moukandjo returned to Rennes in the following season in 2009 but did not continue there. He ended his stay at the club joining Nimes. Moukandjo enjoyed an uptick in form and confidence in the two years spent at the club. He was a first team regular and appeared in nearly 50 games during his time there. Despite some good performances, Moukandjo failed to find the back of the net regularly. He scored 8 times.
Despite the lack of scoring form, Moukandjo was snapped up Monaco in 2011 on deadline day in January. Signed to help secure safety, Moukandjo made 16 appearances in just 4 months but scored a mere 3 times. Monaco were relegated. However, despite being a striker and failing to score as often as one should, Benjamin was linked with a move to the English Premier League with giants Liverpool.
But Moukandjo preferred to stay in France and guarantee himself regular first team football. Moukandjo signed with AS Nancy Lorraine. The time Moukandjo spent here is one of the best of his career in terms of consistency in playing time. In just 3 years, Moukandjo made about a century of appearances for Nancy. He also found the back of the net 19 times.
Moukandjo’s performances at Nancy saw him secure a ticket to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. He played in all three games as Cameroon exited in the Group Stage.
Benjamin Moukandjo completed a transfer to Reims from Nancy in the 2014 summer window. He scored 8 times in 19 starts. After a single season, Moukandjo quit Reims and joined Lorient, his last port of call in France before the switch to Jiangsu.
The move to Lorient sparked some of the best goal scoring form of Benjamin’s career as he found the back of the net an impressive 26 times in a couple of seasons. In the two seasons spent at Lorient, Moukandjo had eerily similar statistics of 13 goals and an assists in each season.
After two hugely impressive season individually at Lorient, Moukandjo made the transfer to the Chinese Super League linking up with Fabio Capello at Jiangsu Suning.
Benjamin Moukandjo is also a full Cameroon International having made his debut against Senegal back in 2011. He soon netted his first for his country against Guinea-Bissau. Since then, he has become a regular feature for his country and travelled to Brazil for the World Cup and started all three group games there. Benjamin Moukandjo is now the Captain of the Cameroon national Team. He lead from the front as his team lifted a fifth Africa Cup of Nations Championship earlier in 2017. He was also named to the substitute’s bench of the Team of the Tournament.
Jiangsu will be hoping that Moukandjo fires the goals that lifts them to safety at the end of the campaign.