Awoniyi throws weight behind Finidi despite poor start

Nottingham Forest’s Nigerian forward, Taiwo Awoniyi, has voiced his support for Finidi George, to continue as the Super Eagles Head Coach despite a challenging start to his tenure.

The former Ipswich Town and Ajax winger took over the reins in April after serving as Assistant Coach under Portuguese gaffer, Jose Peseiro, who guided Nigeria to the final of the 2023 African Cup of Nations but lost the title to Cote d’Ivoire, albeit with Awoniyi sidelined due to a groin injury.

Awoniyi made a triumphant return to action for Forest by scoring in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal at the City Ground in January. His six goals and three assists from 20 games in the 2023/2024 Premier League helped Forest to avoid relegation after finishing in 17th position.

Awoniyi expresses optimism about Finidi’s appointment in an interview with 

“We want to keep progressing and it’s good to welcome a new coach,” he said. “I think it’s a good appointment and it will be good to meet him.”

Despite the Super Eagles’ recent 2-1 defeat to Benin in a World Cup qualifying match, Awoniyi remains positive about the team’s future under Finidi’s leadership.

“There’s lots of us [Nigerian players] now playing in the highest leagues in different countries,” he noted. “That can only be a good thing and shows how strong we are.”

His determination to continue growing and improving is evident, as he emphasises the importance of constant progression.

You can never settle, ever, for what you have got in football. You can never stand still.”

Awoniyi added: “For me, it’s always important to keep on wanting to do more. That is the way you have to be, in order to get better.

Despite the patchy start, Awoniyi’s faith in Finidi’s capabilities and the talent within the Super Eagles squad reflects a commitment to future success and growth with the Nigeria national team.