21.11.2015 14:22 h

Indomitable Lion Moukandjo roaring at Lorient

While the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the top of the scorers' charts in France will surprise nobody, that of Benjamin Moukandkjo would not have been expected even at his own club.

Moukandjo scored nine goals in his first 13 appearances for Lorient since joining the modest Brittany outfit from their Ligue 1 rivals Reims in the summer.

That allowed him to match the tally of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Ibrahimovic before Lorient welcomed the team from the capital to their tidy Stade du Moustoir on Saturday.

Lorient were probably expecting the biggest impact in attack to come from Ghana star Majeed Waris, another summer recruit, but instead it is the 27-year-old Cameroon international who is, a little belatedly, fulfilling his undoubted potential.

Born in Douala, Moukandjo started out at the Kadji Sport Academies (KSA) in the suburbs of Cameroon's largest city and commercial capital.

When he was just 17, his pace, technical ability and eye for goal led many to compare him to Indomitable Lions superstar Samuel Eto'o, who also came through the KSA.

It is a comparison that Moukandjo does not like -- "It is not me who made that comparison", he invariably replies when it is put to him.

Indeed, Moukandjo has had a journeyman career compared to the glittering success enjoyed by Eto'o.

In France since the age of 18, he played for Rennes, Nimes, Monaco and Nancy before joining Reims in 2014.

His eight goals last season helped the Champagne outfit avoid relegation and led to him joining Lorient on a two-year deal in the summer.

"He has been a great success that we are very proud of," said Lorient's English vice-president Alex Hayes.

"He is having a great start to the season and is giving a demonstration of the art of the modern attacker, because he is a player who plays out wide, as a number nine, as a number 10."

The player himself has been much more modest about his performances.

"I didn't expect, when I arrived, to have such a prolific start to the season," said Moukandjo, who has already beaten his personal best for goals scored in a single campaign.

The likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Kevin Gameiro, Jordan Ayew and fellow Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar have all passed through Lorient in recent years but none started a season with such a bang as Moukandjo now.

"He is profiting from the work put in by his team-mates but beyond his qualities and talent he also works very hard for the team," said Lorient coach Sylvain Ripoll.

His goals helped Lorient to seventh place in the table before the November international break and the striker, who played for his country at last year's World Cup in Brazil, is targeting more success.

"This is not an end in itself. I am not going to limit myself to this. I am going to try to do much more because I know I can," said Moukandjo, a great admirer of Swedish star Ibrahimovic.

"He has a very strong character and takes responsibility for everything he does and says. In this business and in everyday life, that is something you need.

"You have to admire him, watch him and try to match him.

"If I could achieve half of what he has done it would be wonderful. He is a source of inspiration for me and must be for many other players too."