Akpoguma: Awoniyi deserves to play for Nigeria at AFCON
Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma says Union Berlin of Germany forward Taiwo Awoniyi deserves to be playing regularly for Nigeria.
Awoniyi has scored nine times in 15 Bundesliga games so far this term and Akpoguma does not see why the 24 year old should not be a regular face in the team and hopes the Union Berlin top scorer makes the cut for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations starting next month in Cameroun.
“Taiwo Awonyi is a player that deserves to play for Nigeria. An incredible player with brutal physicality. He knows where the goal is from inside the box. A player that would be a great asset, especially to Nigeria. I hope that the coach will have Taiwo on his list for the African Cup,” said Akpoguma who has featured 13 times, scored once and bagged two assists so far this term in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim.
The 26 year old also spoke about his Super Eagles debut and sacked team gaffer, Gernot Rohr.
“My start was not that easy. I decided last year to play for Nigeria’s national team. We had two friendly games against two great nations – Algeria and Tunisia – and then we had the qualification round for the upcoming African Cup of Nations. Two draws. One very unhappy draw that I took part in. It wasn’t too great. For the return legs, I had my injury. Because of that, I lost a lot of games, as in wasn’t able to take part. We had some difficult games,’ he said and revealed the weight of expectations on the team at the AFCON.
“People in Africa expect a lot from Nigeria. If you think of Nigeria, it is considered one of the top four, top three. Especially due to the past: Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu. These are players that reached a really high level. At the moment, players like Osimhen, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi – these are top players where you think success has to be achieved. That is why we will see what will happen at the African Cup. I hope that I will reach performance levels that I have not yet reached for the national team. I hope that, especially at a tournament like this, the caps will come and that in the future, I will become a regular for the Nigerian team.”