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HomeSportInspirational Story of Taiwo Awoniyi: The Boy Who Dared To Dream

Inspirational Story of Taiwo Awoniyi: The Boy Who Dared To Dream

The Inspirational Story of Taiwo Awoniyi started in the industrial City of Ilorin, Kwara State in a family of 6 kids. Taiwo’s father was a prison officer whose salary was barely enough to feed his family but it never stopped him from sending 6 of them to school. He would borrow money just to pay their fees because he believed education was their way out of hardship but God had other plans.

Taiwo father wanted him to read medicine and become a doctor but young Taiwo fell in love with the round leather game and only wanted to play football. His mother noticed his love for football and bought him his first ball, a ball commonly called “Felele”. His father was still insistent on him going to school but after a while, they came to an agreement which is “Do well in school then you play, any term he fails, no football”

It still wasn’t easy, Taiwo Awoniyi had to trek for over an hour to get to training when he joined his first academy, Unicorn Academy. He needed to buy football boots as he couldn’t play barefoot in the academy and couldn’t ask his parents for money as he knew they were struggling so he decided to work. He worked in the bakery, and construction site as a bricklayer just to make enough money to buy his first football boots.

His coach at Unicorn Academy, Coach Olojo Abdulrasaq noticed Taiwo was missing training around the period when Coca-Cola was picking a team to represent Nigeria in a regional tournament. He discovered it was because of transport fare, so he decided to start taking Taiwo back on his bike or give him money for T-fare because he believed in the talent of Taiwo. Taiwo didn’t disappoint, he was picked among the players who went to London for an African tournament sponsored by Coca-Cola.

While he was in London, they visited Chelsea, Cobham where he met Mikel and in his heart, he kept praying that God would bring him back to England. He was the MVP in the tournament but after the tournament, he came back to Nigeria and it was like nothing would come out of it. He had to start fetching water for people to get money to go to training and after a while, he went back to his dad, telling him he wanted to go back to school.

His father, who was then retired, ran to his friend, borrowed money, and gave it to Taiwo to go and register for JAMB. Taiwo went to the house of the man who was supposed to help him register for JAMB twice and didn’t meet him and was going home later that evening when the phone his father gave him rang. It was IMPERIAL SOCCER ACADEMY, owned by Former Nigerian International, Seyi Olofinjana, they wanted Taiwo to join them and needed him to leave with one of their scouts the next day.

Taiwo went home and begged his father to allow him to go to Lagos and join the Academy together with the JAMB money he gave him earlier for upkeep. His father agreed and after he got to Lagos, the club asked his father to come and sign some papers. His father went but had to sleep in a church as he couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel.

While Taiwo Awoniyi was at Imperial Soccer Academy, he got an invitation to join the Nigeria Under-15 and from there, the Under-17 call came in. In all these, the Academy provided his transport and kits for him, and he got to the Under-17 World Cup as one of the youngest players playing second choice to Isaac Success who got injured and Taiwo came in. He grabbed the opportunity by scoring in the match and going on to score 4 goals in the tournament which Nigeria won in 2013.

He went back to his Academy and after representing Nigeria at the Under-20 where he scored 7 goals in 9 appearances, winning the African Under-20 Championship, Liverpool came calling and signed him on a 5-year deal. He couldn’t play for Liverpool because he needed a work permit and the only way he could get it was by playing for Nigeria at the Olympics, where he scored one of the goals that qualified Nigeria for the Olympics but he was dropped. He was disappointed but still believed in God’s plans for his life.

In 2015, Liverpool sent him on loan to Frankfurt who were fighting relegation but he struggled and scored only one goal, and the team was relegated. In 2016, he was loaned to NEC, he also struggled, scored only twice and NEC was relegated. In 2017, he was loaned to the Belgian club, Mouscan where he scored 7 goals in 27 matches. He still couldn’t get a work permit to play for Liverpool, so was loaned out AGAIN, this time to Gent.

Taiwo signed for Liverpool as an 18-year-old but has been on loan for 3 years now. After another loan to Mainz in 2019, he joined Union Berlin in 2020 and scored 5 goals but it was enough for Berlin to break their transfer record and sign him permanently for £6.5M. He went on to score 15 goals for Berlin the next season and that’s when Nottingham Forest of the EPL came calling and he jumped at the offer as the EPL was his dream.

Taiwo Awoniyi scores for Nottingham Forest Football Club

He moved to the EPL and became the first player to score Nottingham Forest’s 1st goal back in the EPL. He also became the 3rd African to score in 7 consecutive games when he went on a run of goal-scoring spree against Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea, goals that kept Nottingham Forest in the League.

Today he’s a superstar who made it from scratch, he went from patching his football boots to rebuilding the Football Academy where he started in Kwara under the same coach who believed in him to handle it. Now his parents live worry-free as he has paid off all the debts his father borrowed to train them in school and he did this from scratch.

If you can dream it, believe in it, work on it, and ask God for direction ALWAYS, you can achieve it. There’s no dream too big for anyone, if Taiwo Awoniyi can go from sneaking into the football center to watch EPL stars to being an EPL star, anything is possible!!!. Guess what, Taiwo Awoniyi got a degree by studying Business Management while he was on a loan, fulfilling his father’s dreams!!!

Article source: SportsDokita (Odogwu); Email: SportsDokita@gmail.com

Published and modified by: Ndaman Joshua Olayinka, Editor, Yinksmedia

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