22-year old striker, Taiwo Awoniyi spent the 2019/2020 season with German Bundesliga club, FSV Mainz, on loan from newly-crowned English Premier League champions, Liverpool. In Part 1 of his exclusive with Ayotunde Ogala for EaglesTracker, he discussed some of the challenges he faced while out on loan.
“Same energy, same intensity, same passion every week, and imagine from August till March before the Covid19 pandemic and we had to stop playing, I did not even get a chance. You don’t play during the weekend, and you have to come back again with the same mentality the following week. It’s really crazy but the joy is it later pays off with your hard work.”
Every story has its highs and lows, and Taiwo expressed that his best spell at the club came following the resumption of the Bundesliga season after the break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think that two-week training session we had when we were asked to resume after the COVID-19 was my best period. The training sessions were the same for me, but to the team, it felt like I was a different person when we got back together. Everyone was like, “Taiwo, what’s happening that you are making life difficult for your teammates ?”. I had been working hard for all those months but they saw it more in that two-week resumption period, because the trainings were more of competitive sessions.”
With opportunities few and far in-between, many wondered why Taiwo Awoniyi remained with FSV Mainz through the January transfer window, and the 22-year old admits he maybe made the wrong decision.
“All the circumstances are difficult to explain, so I just focus on the next step ahead.
But I must say this, in January after the training camp in Spain, I think I should have left because I got serious options to go, and even in March as well. I just decided not to leave, and the best you can do for yourself is fight and fight in every training.”
Regarding the teams interest in signing him, he said
I can’t disclose the names, but there were offers from France, another Bundesliga team, from Portugal and a team in the MLS as well. I decided not to leave because football is a competitive game and you know if you can compete.
In January then, I felt that with a more clear chance, I will be seen more and that’s what made me to stay.
And secondly, I already had such an experience in Ghent. Same situation and I also chose not to leave because I knew it was my level, not until we resumed in January for training camp and they left me behind telling me, “even if you work more than a machine, you will not be given the chance.”
That was when I decided to return back to Mouscron and at last everyone saw what happened.
He scored 11 goals in 16 appearances after returning to Mouscron in January 2019.
“For me the most important is my belief towards my faith and my personal convictions when it comes to issues of life.
The greatest lesson I learnt at Mainz is, my faith has told me that even in bad situations there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, just keep on believing and working hard.
Even when you put your all and it’s not working, never let go. Work on and leave the rest to God to decide.
But know in your mind…I did my best, it just didn’t work out.
It is better than regretting you didn’t do enough.”
Taiwo concluded the interview by revealing that he was ready for his well-deserved holiday and was putting discussions about the future on hold for now.
“It’s been a long season for every football player here and some are even still playing. The plan is just to enjoy the holidays for the time being and like always, I have to go to my parent club Liverpool and have a chat with my agent as well.
We will see what the future holds.
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