FC Union Berlin striker, Taiwo Awoniyi spoke exclusively to EaglesTracker
EaglesTracker caught up exclusively with 24-year old striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, who recently earned his first call up, and made his debut in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying defeat against Central African Republic.
“It has always been one of my greatest dreams and to be able to have the opportunity (to play for Nigeria) is a privilege and honour which I’m happy about, and all glory to God for making it possible.”
Taiwo spoke about the depth of quality currently in the Super Eagles, and how he sees this as an opportunity not to elevate himself, but to fight for the nation.
“Nigeria is a country full of talents and great players. I hope and work for victory as that is the goal of the national team. I personally don’t see it as place you have to set personal glory or achievements for yourself, but a place to represent the colour and fight for the nation, for success on every outing, and that’s my only aim.“
Taiwo did not forget to thank the fans for their support, and he of course reserves all Glory for God, who he believes makes all things possible
“Thanks to all the fans for their support as it means a lot no matter how little. I am just a boy full of hope, dreams, and above all, connected to the only one who makes all things possible.“
“I believe there’s more to come, with God’s help, hard work and dedication.”
Super Eagles 23-man squad to face Central African Republic
Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr, has named his 23-man squad to face Central African Republic in the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches on October 7th and October 10th.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonoia, Cyprus), Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)
Defenders: William Troost-Ekong (Watford, England), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain), Leon Balogun (Rangers, Scotland), Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonoia, Cyprus), Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn, Germany), Ola Aina (Torino, Italy), Calvin Bassey (Rangers, Scotland), Kevin Akpoguma (Hoffenheim, Germany)
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford, England), Innocent Bonke (Malmo, Sweden), Alex Iwobi (Everton, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Karamgucu, Turkey), Moses Simon (Nantes, France), Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux, France), Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium), Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy)
“First of all, I want to give thanks to God, he made it possible. I really can’t explain how I felt making my debut. It was like a dream come true, I was sooo happy, the joy was too much.
Michael expressed his surprise at even being called up for the games in the first place, “I was really surprised. I didn’t expect or believe it until I got to the Eagles camp and had my first training. Then I realized it was all real and true.“
Looking forward to the next opportunity to put on the green and white jersey of Nigeria, Michael asks for the fans support, while promising to play from the heart always. “I want the fans to keep supporting me because there is room for improvement, and watch for the heart that I play with. I love them all, thank you.”
Were you impressed by Kingsley Michael’s Super Eagles debut ?
With this latest move by the club, it does seem that the Hornets hierarchy has something for players of Nigerian descent, hence leading EaglesTracker to take a look at ‘Team Nigeria’ that Watford is gladly building at the Vicarage Road.
7: DAPO MEBUDE
Nigeria-eligible striker Dapo Mebude on Friday completed a two-year transfer move to the Hornets making him the latest player of Nigerian descent to join their Nigerian entourage.
The 19-year-old was released from Glasgow Rangers in June. He spent the 2020/2021 season on loan at Queen of the South FC, where he scored two goals in eleven appearances. Although having represented Scotland at various youth levels, Mebude is still available for selection for the Super Eagles.
6: JOSEPH HUNGBO
21-year-old Hungbo has been a member of Watford’s Nigerian connection since the summer of 2019 after he was released by Crystal Palace.
The fifth of six children born to a Nigerian father and a Togolese mother who emigrated to London from Nigeria. Hungbo spent part of last season on a short-term loan at National League side, Aldershot Town, before returning to feature in 6 games for Watford in all competitions.
5: OGHENEKARO ETEBO
Etebo is the latest Super Eagles player to join the Hornets ahead of their 2021-22 English Premier League season.
The 25-year-old has been at Stoke City since 2018, playing 45 matches in the Championship. Following loan spells with Getafe and Galatasaray, Etebo is set to feature in the Premier League for the first time in his career.
4: EMMANUEL DENNISBONAVENTURE
The first player of Nigerian descent to join Xisco Munoz’s side this summer after being snapped up from Belgian top-flight side Club Brugge. Dennis would be looking to tap some inspiration from his feat in the Champions League in 2019, when he became the third Nigerian to score against Real Madrid in a European club competition.
Bonaventure has represented Nigeria at under-23 level and senior level. Can the 23-year old shine in Europe’s top league ?
3: TOM DELE-BASHIRU
Although yet to feature for Nigeria at senior level, Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru featured and scored for Nigeria at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. He has also represented Nigeria’s U23s, following his inclusion in the squad for the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.
Following his move to the Vicarage Road after his contract with Manchester City expired in 2019, Dele-Bashiru has featured three times for Watford. He appeared to be breaking into the side last season, before suffering an ACL injury. He will be looking to impress for Watford in the Premier League.
2: WILLIAM TROOST-EKONG
Perhaps, the most familiar Nigerian in the Hornets’ nest. Troost-Ekong boasts of 48 appearances for Nigeria’s Super Eagles and 32 for Watford. He is the current vice-captain of Nigeria’s national team.
The 27-year-old centre back joined Watford from Italian Serie A side, Udinese on a five-year deal in September 2020. Troost-Ekong has since scored once for the Hornets.
1: ISAAC SUCCESS
The longest-serving Nigerian at the Watford currently. Having joined in 2017, Success has featured for Watford in the Premier League, the Championship and the EFL Cup.
With 71 games played and 6 goals scored across all competitions for Watford, the 25-year-old Super Eagles forward would be looking forward to partnering with his new Nigerian teammates in the Premier League. He last played with one – Odion Ighalo, in the 2016-17 season.
Football Fans Tribe were at a viewing center in Naija to get the reactions of fans, as Ole Gunnar Solskjear’s men played out a goalless stalemate at Old Trafford against Frank Lampard’s blues. Stand out player was absolutely Edouard Mendy.