Awoniyi has not played for Nigeria since September 2022, but he would be looking to end his game drought when they play Sierra Leone later this month
Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi has revealed he is excited to return to the Super Eagles squad but maintains that getting the call-up is a privilege.
Soccernet.ng reports that the Super Eagles will play Sierra Leone in their penultimate game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the 18th of June.
Ahead of the game, Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro called up 23 players. And Nottingham Forest star Awoniyi made the cut. It was his first invite since September 2022, when the team lost to Algeria in a friendly game.
Awoniyi missed the game against Portugal last November because he was not in form. He was also unavailable for the double-header against Guinea-Bissau because of an injury.
However, the 24-year-old hitman returned to action in April while the Premier League was on. The City Ground outfit were in danger of relegation at the time, but Awoniyi rescued them.
The Super Eagles star scored five goals in Forest’s last three games to guide them to safety. His performances for his side earned him a call-up to the national team for the first time since September.
The camp in Lagos was opened on the 11th of June, but Awoniyi arrived days, albeit in Ilorin, to show support to the teams in the final of the Never Stop Steam Cup- a competition he organized for grassroots clubs in Ilorin.
In an exclusive interview with Soccernet.ng, Awoniyi revealed that he was excited when he received the invitation to the Super Eagles. He also stated that it is a privilege, and no player can be on the team forever.
“It’s a great privilege for any player, it’s an honour, and it should not be taken for granted, Awoniyi told Soccernet.
“I’m very happy I was invited, I am proud and overjoyed as well. However, the Super Eagles is not a home for everybody, you can’t be there forever because it is not for one player.
“You may be there today and not be there tomorrow. But the main thing is that you should put in your best when you get the opportunity.
“Playing for your country is a pride for any player, and if you look at the Premier League, the Bundesliga, the Laliga, and other leagues, we have a lot of Nigerian players doing well.
“When they make the lists, Nigerians would always ask why a certain player is there on it. Nigerians would always have something to say, that is to show how big the Nation is in terms of talent.
“So I tell myself that getting the call up does not mean I should take it for granted. I’m happy I’m there, but I believe it’s a big honour and privilege.
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Awoniyi has not scored a goal for Nigeria since the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2022. Napoli superstar Victor Osimhen would likely lead the line for Nigeria, but Awoniyi would hope that coach Peseiro gives him an opportunity.