When asked why he didn’t open his account for the Super Eagles during their 1-0 win over Egypt in an Africa Cup of Nations match on Tuesday evening, Taiwo Awoniyi responded with a query about not opening his account.
Prior to reporting for international service, the 24-year-old was in the best shape of his life, scoring nearly at will for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga.
Awoniyi scored a total of 14 goals in all competitions, which was more than any other player on the Nigerian team that qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
A promising young player who was signed by Liverpool in 2015 as a long-term investment, he struggled at Anfield before joining Union Berlin on a permanent basis, where he has excelled in both the Bundesliga and European competition.
After receiving his first call-up to the Super Eagles in October of 2016, he went on to make his senior debut against the Central African Republic in Lagos in November of same year.
However, despite the fact that he did not score against the Pharaohs, Awoniyi was praised for his overall performance, to the point where manager Augustine Eguavoen confessed that his replacement, Umar Sadiq, was not up to the same standard as the Union Berlin star.
Awoniyi has made it obvious that he will place greater emphasis on the success of the Super Eagles than on his own personal triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Speaking to reporters at the end of training on Wednesday, Awoniyi said : “I stand to be corrected but when it comes to the national team the question of whether you scored or not most media need to stop it because we are here to represent the country, it doesn’t matter who scored.
“For me I am happy with the victory if I score or I don’t score, even till the end of the tournament if I don’t score I’m happy as long as we win.
“Hopefully I score which is my job to do but whether I score or not is not a question I want to give an answer to.”