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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Taiwo Awoniyi: The New Bride of European Clubs.


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Taiwo Awoniyi
Most Nigerian that were hoping that 2015 would be the year the Flying Eagles will finally break the FIFA U20 World Cup jinx did not have to wait long to be disappointed as the Nigeria representative lost their first game 4-2 to Brazil but still managed to book a place in the second round of the completion. In their first knockout game against a more organised German side, the Nigerians crashed like pack of cards. The lackluster performance put up by the team did not however deter teams scrambling for the signature of a member of the team-Taiwo Awoniyi. From Europe to Africa clubs have been seeking for the Nigerian prodigy. Kunle Adewale in this report says Awoniyi should look before he leaps so as not to be a victim of greedy agents and managers who are just after their selfish gains than making the best out of the player

Many Nigeria players have had their football career cut short in the past due to the selfishness of agents across the globe. This is something Awoniyi should watch out for as he hopes to make a great leap in his footballing career.
If wishes were horses, beggars too will ride as Awoniyi has revealed his pleasure to play at the Stanford Bridge. Playing for Chelsea football club would be a dream come true for him in his football career.
Swedish club Kalmar have tied up an agreement to sign Awoniyi when he clocks 18 on August 12, 2015 after his scintillating performance for the Golden Eaglets at the 2013 FIFA Under 17 World Cup held in the United Arab Emirates caught the attention of scouts representing several European teams.
To prevent trafficking of underage players from the third world, FIFA transfer rules prevent clubs from signing footballers yet to reach the age of maturity. And it is that watertight regulation that has prevented Awoniyi from signing a professional contract.
Kalmar coaches know they have a jewel in their hands, and the young Nigerian has been training with the first team since his arrival in Scandinavia.
Before the product of Imperial Academy decided to pitch tent at the Guldfageln Arena, he was courted by Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica.
However, Kalmar FF has admitted that the club could lose the Nigerian even before he signs a contract in August. Before the African Youth Championship a lot of European teams sent their scouts to Senegal to run the rule over the 17 -year - old, and in practice he could shred the preliminary agreement he has with Kalmar.
“That you never know. You cannot go around being worried, but somewhere I just had to enjoy the guy that he is making progress and that it goes in the right direction.
And it is also a sign that we are a little right there when we look at the players so it’s only positive that Taiwo is doing well,” sporting director of Kalmar, Thomas Andersson Borstam, told
Bosstam added : “Then he has been in Kalmar now three or four times and become acquainted with us and feel comfortable with us and we are happy with him. So I think it may be a good step to begin in Sweden, first developed before taking the next step.”
Awoniyi was one of the top stars at the recent African Youth Championship in Senegal and has been linked with several top clubs in Europe and Africa.
Among the clubs believed to be chasing Awoniyi are FC Porto, Celtic and Red Bull Salzburg as well as Esperance of Tunisia, whose officials stormed the Flying Eagles training camp in Germany to try and convince the 17-year-old striker to sign for them.
“I’m still a free player, but I hope my future will be decided before the World Cup,” Awoniyi disclosed in an interview published by
Meanwhile, a report by SL.10ng disclosed that Red Bull Salzburg, Olympiakos and RSC Anderlecht are also eyeing Awoniyi and the trio was in contact with his minders while Porto is planning a swoop as well.
Manchester United are also reported to have courted the attacker, with one of their representatives speaking directly with him, but the interest from Old Trafford has waned due to uncertainty surrounding his registration rights.
Regarding the 17-year-old’s ownership rights, there has been series of peace meetings between the Ilorin-based club and Seyi Olofinjana’s Imperial Soccer Academy and all the stakeholders had decided to work in the interest of Awoniyi and the country, with a new ownership-sharing agreement finalized.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi is hoping that the U20 star can bring his eye for goal to the senior team. Keshi has given the U20 striker the green light to lead the Super Eagles attack.
The 18-year-old scored a brace for Samson Siasia’s U23 squad in a recent All African Games qualifier in Lusaka, Zambia, and it would be only a matter of time before he makes his senior team debut.
Keshi told Goal that Awoniyi is ripe enough to lead the Eagles attack but must indicate his readiness to take that responsibility on the field of play.
“If you will recall, I gave Awoniyi his first call up to the Super Eagles sometimes ago because I know that he has the quality of a goal poacher who can deliver the goals when needed,” Keshi told Goal.
“But like I have always explained, playing for the age grade national teams is different from the Super Eagles.
Awoniyi is young and talented and has the quality of a good striker. So who says he can’t lead the Eagles attack? He just needs to be ready for the task and show it on the field of play which I believe the boy is capable of doing.”
However, father of Taiwo, Solomon Awoniyi, has said he used to beat his son to discourage him from playing football, but that he never knew Taiwo would play football to global level.
He said the football career of his son started during his elementary school days, noting that he (Taiwo) would always disappear from the house to play football and the whole family would be looking for him. Awoniyi praised the efforts of Taiwo’s coach, Rasaq Olojo, whom he said discovered and nurtured him.
He said the striker was part of the team that participated in a Coca Cola competition in Ibadan, which later earned him a trip to London in 2010, where former Nigerian football stars Nduka Ugbade and Seyi Olofinjana, spotted him in a competition Awoniyi was voted the most valuable player and came home with the award from London in 2010.
It however remains to be seen which team will eventually woe the Nigerian prodigy. Experts have however warned that he should be careful in his choice of club.

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