Emilio Nsue is now the oldest player ever to score a hat-trick at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after starring in a 4-2 win over Guinea-Bissau on Thursday. His goal-scoring exploits for Equatorial Guinea may come as a surprise to Middlesbrough fans, who saw him struggle to make an impact while playing at right-back in the Premier League.
Nsue’s unorthodox career path has taken him from Mallorca to Middlesbrough, and from Birmingham City to Bosnia. The 34-year-old currently earns his living in the Spanish third tier with Intercity.
He’s still as important as ever to Equatorial Guinea. Despite making his name as a right-back and an occasional winger, he plays at the spearhead of the attack for his country, and he proved on Thursday that he’s not too shabby through the middle.
Bagging once before the interval and twice more in the second half, Nsue scored a fairy-tale hat-trick which, at 34 years old, made him the oldest player in AFCON history to do so.
He also became the first player to net three in an AFCON game since 2008. Nsue is by far and away Equatorial Guinea’s record international goalscorer, defying his full-back pedigree by netting 20 times in 41 appearances.
The Mallorca-born veteran played for Spain all the way to Under-21 level before switching international allegiance in 2013. Equatorial Guinea have opened the tournament in impressive fashion, drawing with African heavyweights Nigeria on Sunday before their win over Guinea-Bissau.
Nsue embraced his attacking attributes after signing for APOEL, spending four seasons in Cyprus before a year in Bosnia and a long-awaited return to Spain – albeit in his birthland’s lower divisions.
The full-back-turned-striker will get another chance to extend his lead at the top of Equatorial Guinea’s all-time scoring charts when they take on Ivory Coast next week in their final group-stage match.