Union Berlin of Germany striker, Taiwo Awoniyi has refused to set for himself a personal target of how many goals he would love to score at the impending Africa Cup of Nations, megasportsarena.com reports.
The withdrawals of SSC Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhen and Watford of England’s Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, as well as the likelihood of Al-Shabab of Saudi Arabia’s Odion Jude Ighalo has left Awoniyi as the next lad to lead Nigeria’s attack in Cameroon.
Although Almeria of Spain attacker, Umar Sadiq is also high on the perking order to step in as Nigeria’s arrowhead at the upcoming championship, many pundits have given the edge to Awoniyi, who got his senior international debut in the Eagles’ last match of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
That was against Cape Verde at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos and, though the UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup revelation could not score in that game, which he played as a substitute, he has shot ahead of Sadiq in the Eagles’ ranks.
However, rather than start counting his chickens before they are hatched, Awoniyi opted to parry talk about how many goals he will score, as he decided to eulogise absent Osimhen instead, and stressed that the Napoli hitman will be sorely missed at AFCON 2021.
The former FSV Frankfurt and SV Mainz of Germany, KAA Gent and Royal Mouscron of Belgium, NEC Nijmegen of Netherlands as well as former Liverpool of England hitman added that he feels bad that Osimhen will not be there to help Nigeria at the upcoming championship in Cameroon.
Osimhen, who was originally named on the 28-man roster, was forced to pull out of the squad due to a Covid-19 infection, face injury and non-release by Napoli, which paved way for Awoniyi to climb up the pecking order of Eagles’ center forwards and he now has a better opportunity of making the starting line-up.
However, Awoniyi is not gloating over his chances of making hay in Cameroon, as the product of Imperial Football Academy of Odogbolu, Ogun State chose to express his feelings for Osimhen, who was Nigeria’s leading sore in the World Cup and AFCON qualifiers, with nine goals overall.
“To be honest, I feel really bad that Victor is not here with us because he did a lot of work for the country during the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in scoring the goals and putting in the shift.
“For him not to be in the tournament proper I think it’s something he will feel bad himself and not for him to be here is something I feel bad about because I think he deserves to be here for sure.
“For me I’m not the one that set targets in terms of saying I am going to do this. I think it’s about getting set for each game, putting in the shift and let us see how it goes at the end,” Awoniyi submitted.