Taiwo Awoniyi has built up a fine reputation as a goal scorer in recent seasons and his past has helped him, having worked as a bricklayer in Nigeria in his youth.
The dream has come true. Taiwo Awoniyi has been playing in the Premier League since the summer of 2022. A consecration for the Nottingham Forest player. Because when he voiced this dream loud and clear in his teens, some people didn’t believe it. Because back then, he was…a bricklayer. “It was the one thing I kept telling people like my high school mates and teammates, even though people hardly believed what I said sometimes,” he recalls to BBC Sport Africa. But that’s just me. Once I believe in something, I go for it. And becoming a professional footballer and playing in the Premier League has been my biggest dream. His job as a bricklayer has helped him to pay for his travel expenses to a training center, as well as the equipment he needs to play soccer.
To give himself the means to dream, Taiwo Awoniyi has been able to count on former Nigerian international Seyi Olofinjana. The latter integrated him into his academy. The former midfielder knew that Awoniyi would succeed at the highest level. “Taiwo was always one of those dedicated young athletes, but what made him – and still makes him – stand out was his belief in his abilities. For him, it was always going to be a matter of time – not least because of his religious nature.”
Nothingness at Liverpool, Berlin for the revivalIn 2015, Taiwo Awoniyi thought he’d make it by signing for Liverpool. But without a work permit, it was impossible to play in England. This prompted him to return home. Without making a single appearance for the Reds, the striker went on loan to Nijmegen (Netherlands), Royal Excel Mouscron (Belgium, twice), KAA Gent, Frankfurt, Mainz and Union Berlin in Germany. It was in the German capital that he exploded onto the scene, scoring 18 goals in 2021-2022.Then Nottingham Forest, promoted to the Premier League, placed their bets on the 25-year-old.
In his first season in the English top flight, Taiwo Awoniyi scored 10 goals, including 6 in the last 4 matches against Southampton (double), Chelsea (double), Arsenal and Crystal Palace.He even scored the goal that kept Forest in the Premier League. With the new season kicking off this weekend, there’s no doubt that the striker will be eagerly awaited.