By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Nigeria U-23s striker Taiwo Awoniyi is hopeful that the team will be too strong for opposition at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Awoniyi was part of the team that achieved qualification to the Games courtesy of their triumph at the 2015 CAF U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal.
Awoniyi spoke to Completesportsnigeria.com from his base in Germany.
“The competition was held outside FIFA calendar and most clubs refused to release their players. We did have a strong team in Senegal but it would have been nice if we had some players the coach wanted,” Awoniyi explained.
“All the same I’m believing that having made it, we’ll be stronger at the Olympics because we will have most of the players needed.”
Awoniyi admits that a knee injury limited his impact in the team.
“The injury stopped me from playing in the final against Algeria which pained me really. I wanted to play in it as I told you. I feel I didn’t do as much as I could,” he added.
Responding further to Completesportsnigeria.com’s questions, Awoniyi says he cannot play for now for FSV Frankfurt in the second division in Germany due to the latest setback.
“The team could not hold a party for me when I returned. I’m injured but hopefully will start playing soon,” the 2013 U-17 World Cup winner said.
Algeria and South Africa join Nigeria as Africa’s representatives at next year’s Olympics. Senegal will take part in a play-off to negotiate qualification to the Rio Games.