Aghahowa with Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010
|Full name||Julius Efosa Aghahowa|
|Date of birth||12 February 1982|
|Place of birth||Benin City, Nigeria|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in)|
|2010–2011||→ Sevastopol (loan)||10||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Julius Aghahowa (born 12 February 1982) is a retired Nigerian footballer. He was known for his pace and his back-flips when he scored goals. Aghahowa became the first foreign national outside the former Soviet Union who was among the best scorers in the Ukrainian Premier League 2000–01 season.
Aghahowa played in Ukraine, England and Turkey during his career. Famous for his acrobatic goal celebrations, he performed six consecutive perfect backflips after scoring a goal against Sweden at the 2002 World Cup.
Born in Benin City, Aghahowa began his career with the Police Machines, a local police team, and went on to Bendel Insurance. He signed for Danish lower division team Herning Fremad before the 1999 African Youth Championship, but Aghahowa performed so well there that he wanted to play for a bigger club. He ended up with the Tunisian champions, Espérance, when he procured a contract with the Tunisians which predated the Herning Fremad contract.
In the middle of the 2000–01 season, Aghahowa transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk, who soon won the Ukrainian league championship. Aghahowa won the game for Shakhtar in the 2006 Ukrainian Championship against Dynamo Kyiv, heading the winner in extra-time and being named man of the match. His performance in the final has been widely seen as the "saving grace" of his career at Shakhtar, with his future at the club looking bleak earlier in the season. After playing over six years for Shakhtar Donetsk, Aghahowa left for Wigan Athletic.
His work permit was passed and on 30 January 2007, he signed for Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee, playing his first Premiership match for them against Portsmouth on 3 February. Aghahowa did not score for Wigan in one and half years and on 20 June 2008, he signed for Kayserispor.
Return to Shakhtar Donetsk
On 4 July 2009, Shakhtar Donetsk signed Aghahowa on a free transfer after he was released by Kayserispor. He had already played for Shakhtar from 2000 to 2007 and declared a great desire to play for his old club. However, he could not find himself as a regular starter and was loaned out to PFC Sevastopol at the beginning of the 2010–11 season. He was released at the end of the 2011-12 season, announcing his retirement from the game in April 2013.
Aghahowa made his international debut on the grandest of occasions coming on as a second half substitute for Benedict Akwuegbu at the Africa Cup of Nations match against Morocco in the year 2000 and scored within 36 minutes of his debut which he duly celebrated with his famous back flips in a match the Super Eagles needed to win to advance to the next stage. He would come in handy as a late substitute in an ill tempered quarter final game against Senegal which saw the talismanic Jay Jay Okocha shown a straight red for slapping an opponent and would score within seconds of full time to drag Nigeria into extra-time. Aghahowa would end up scoring the decisive golden goal that sent the Super Eagles into the semis. Despite an impressive 3 goals in 3 games, Aghahowa couldn't convince Bonfere Jo of deserving a starting place as the Super Eagles lost to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the final on penalties. Aghahowa would kick on and turn out to be the main source for goals in the following 2 years as he became Nigeria's top goalscorer at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations as the Super Eagles laboured to a third place finish in Mali. He would reach his goal scoring peak with world class strikes against the Republic of Ireland and Scotland in warm up games leading to the 2002 World Cup and scored Nigeria's only goal at the 2002 World Cup with a brilliant header from a delightful Joseph Yobo cross against Sweden in a 2-1 loss, which ultimately eliminated the Super Eagles at the group stages. Aghahowa had an impressive record of 12 goals in 19 matches after the tournament but a succession of injuries and loss of form extinguished any hopes of him breaking a long standing record of 32 goals for the National team held by the late Nigerian great Rashidi Yekini. Aghahowa played 32 matches and scored 14 goals for Nigeria and is ranked 7th on the all time list of Nigeria's National Team goal scorers. He also played at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Shakhtar Donetsk||2000–01||Vyshcha Liha||8||7||2||1||-||0||0||-||10||8|
|Wigan Athletic||2006–07||Premier League||6||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||6||0|
|Shakhtar Donetsk||2009–10||Ukrainian Premier League||9||1||3||1||-||5||0||1[b]||0||18||2|
|Sevastopol (loan)||2010–11||Ukrainian Premier League||10||1||0||0||–||–||–||10||1|
|Nigeria national team|
Statistics accurate as of match played 6 February 2007
- Shakhtar Donetsk
- 2002, 2004
- "Bravo Bernardo, from duffer to dubber". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
- Lars Bøgeskov, "Jyder snydt for supertalent", Politiken, 27 August 1999.
- "Aghahowa close to Wigan deal". TeamTALK. 29 January 2007. Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
- "Tactical Formation". Football-Lineups.com. Retrieved 8 February 2007.
- "Striker Aghahowa makes Wigan exit". BBC Sport. 20 June 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
- Julius Aghahowa came back to Shakhtar
- Агахова объявил о завершении карьеры. www.ua-football.com (in Ukrainian). ua-football. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Julius Aghahowa". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- "J.Aghahowa". soccerway.com. Soccerway. Retrieved 26 July 2017.