Introducing Dame N’Doye
Second-season-syndrome has been a phrase often coined in football. When a team is promoted to the Premier League, they can often thrive and punch above their weight. However, the second season always proves the biggest challenge, where the team has to prove the first time wasn’t just a fluke.
Hull City are in their second season of their Premier League return and proceedings are indeed proving more rocky then their first campaign. Whereas, 2013-14 saw an FA Cup final appearance and a Europa league place, this term sees the Tigers dangling precariously over the relegation places.
Despite a very poor winter, epitomized by a cataclysmic 1-0 home defeat to bottom of the table Leicester City, Hull has won their last two games and things are looking up. The Tigers defeated Aston Villa 2-0 at the KC Stadium, before putting QPR to the sword this weekend 2-1. One thing these two victories have had in common, goals from Dame N’Doye.
Born in the small town of Thiès in Senegal on the 21st February 1985, the 30-year-old striker began his career at ASC Jeanne d’Arc in Dakar. However, N’Doye’s career proved a slow starter with mediocre spells in Portugal and Greece. It wasn’t until 2009 that the Senegalese forward’s career ignited at Danish club Copenhagen.
His debut season in Denmark saw an impressive 14 goals, helping Copenhagen retain the Danish Superliga title. As a result, the club qualified for the 2010-11 Champions League qualifying rounds. N’Doye’s winning goal against Belarusian side BATE Borisov, saw them make the group stages.
That season’s Champions League adventure proved Copenhagen and N’Doye’s moment of fame as they thrived in the limelight. The club became the first Danish side to qualify for the knockout rounds of the European Cup, only eventually being defeated by a strong Chelsea side. Moreover, N’Doye scored winners at Rubin Kazan and previous club Panathinaikos.
N’Doye eventually left Copenhagen a year later in 2012, embarking on a new chapter of his career in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow. In his three-year spell in Moscow, the 6’ 0.5” striker continued his impressive form with 27 goals in 71 appearances.
Furthermore, N’Doye has performed well for his country earning 26 caps with 6 goals, including two at the 2012 African Cup of Nations. This is an impressive achievement with Senegal having a plethora of quality front men: Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Diafra Sakho, Moussa Sow etc.
On the 2nd February 2015, Dame N’Doye signed for Hull City for an undisclosed fee on a two-and-a-half-year contract. With transfer deadline proving comparatively drab to previous years, it proved a deal that went largely under the radar. However for manager Steve Bruce it was a huge gamble, which has since proved to be a successful one.
N’Doye was joining a Hull side that sat lowly in the relegation zone, deflated and lacking fire power up front. Summer signing Abel Hernandez was experiencing a major dip in form, the Uruguayan having not scored a league goal since the 18th October. Sone Aluko was also struggling in the Premiership with only a lone goal at Goodison Park to his name in 2014-15.
The signing of N’Doye seemed exactly the remedy for Hull.
On the 7th February, Hull travelled to the Etihad stadium and the home of the champions, Manchester City. Whilst N’Doye had little impact coming on as a late substitute, the Tigers pulled off an incredible result. Only a stunning James Milner free kick denied the away side victory, rescuing a 1-1 draw after David Meyler’s opener.
Next for Hull came a home fixture against Aston Villa, a match that proved Paul Lambert’s last in charge of the Villans. Top goal scorer Nikita Jelavic gave the Tigers the lead before N’Doye made his impact on his full debut. Latching onto Gaston Ramirez’s header, the Senegalese international lashed a volley six yards out. Villa keeper Brad Guzan blocked the original effort, yet N’Doye was quick on the scene to smuggle the ball into the net at the second attempt.
After scoring on his home debut, N’Doye struck once again in Hull colours this weekend with a dramatic winner at home to QPR. Rising for a header, with minutes to play at 1-1, N’Doye saw his brilliant effort saved incredibly by the elastic Robert Green. However, like against Villa it proved second time lucky. The ball was whipped in again seconds later, N’Doye once again rising, meeting the cross before Green and heading into the gaping net to seal a 2-1 win.
Two goals in two starts, N’Doye has already raised eyebrows in the Premier League even if not many had heard of him before. The Hull hit man will be hoping to continue his electric form and ensure the Tigers roar on in the Premier League for years to come. Second-season-syndrome? What, second-season-syndrome?
Kobe, YJA Sports Correspondent
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