Awoniyi Was The Luckiest Player I’ve Worked With – Garba

A former Golden Eaglets coach Manu Garba identifies Super Eagles forward Taiwo Awoniyi as the luckiest player in his Golden Eaglets(U-17) world cup winning team reports.

Mr. Garba in an interview recalled how he scouted Taiwo Awoniyi from a video when he visited Abuja while camping in Calabar in 2015.

Also read: Arteta Promotes Golden Eaglets Eligible For Important Sevilla Clash

According to the AFCON U-20 winner, Awoniyi was never part of the U-17 screening exercise in Abuja; but got scouted due to his captivating moves.

Coach Manu Garba

Awoniyi and his journey to the FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament in UAE

“Taiwo Awoniyi was the luckiest player in my FIFA U-17 World Cup winning team in the UAE because he was not part of the screening exercise in Abuja and I already had a team camping in Calabar at Princeville Hotel Calabar made up of forty players,” Garba said as quoted by a Facebook user.

“And one day I flew from Calabar for a meeting at the NFF and I saw a clip of the then U-15 national team match; and in the clip, Taiwo Awoniyi scored a goal with the head and I just said coach Siji Olagunju should give me his number and I called.  Introduce myself as the head coach of the National U-17 team and told him to try and come to Calabar and fight for a place in the team.”

Awoniyi in action for the Golden Eaglets

In Calabar, according to Garba, then U-17 team doctor identified Awoniyi as a slow striker, and cannot meet up with the standard.

Also read: Pitso Mosimane : Talents Alone Cannot Win Nigeria The 2023 AFCON

“When Awoniyi arrived at Calabar, the team doctor said why do I invite him because they were together in the national U-15 team and he was very slow and can’t make it and I told him that I personally saw a clip of his game and invited him and that I want to watch him for some time and God willing, he made the team to the world cup,” he continued.

“Though he wasn’t a first-team starter, when Success Isaac, the highest goal scorer in all the friendly games we played and at the AFCON U-17 tournament in Morocco got a hamstring injury while celebrating the goal he scored against Sweden in the group match at the world cup, Taiwo Awoniyi got his chance scored a goal with an assist and finished the world cup with 4 goals.”

Also read: Awoniyi : 2 Takeaways About Striker’s Degree Of Injury

Taiwo Awoniyi fires blank against goal-hungry Manchester City
Taiwo in action for Nottingham Forest

“Taiwo Awoniyi was the main striker when we won the Super 6 Glo LMC Football Competition in Abuja 2015 defeating the likes of Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Warri Wolves, Dolphins, and National U-23, and was the main striker when we won the Afcon U20 Senegal 2015 trophy and Gold Medal and finished with 3 goals and some assist,” Garba reminisced.

Awoniyi because of a groin injury will not be part of the Super Eagles squad that will travel to Cote d’Ivoire next year for the 2023 AFCON.

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