Saturday Aug 06, 2022. 15:00
Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi believes his presence at the newly-promoted Premier League club could help earn them significant support from Nigeria.
The Super Eagles striker joined Forest for a club-record fee from Union Berlin, having scored 20 goals in 43 matches across all competitions for the German side in 2021-22.
“Our fans love to watch and support Nigerians playing in the Premier League and I believe some of them will try to create a Nottingham Forest fanbase, too,” Awoniyi told BBC Sport Africa.
“I know Nigerians like some clubs already, but when you have one of their own and play attractive football, you will automatically get them on your side.
“I believe they will support us, and of course I have my friends and family who were already waiting for me to play in England. It will be an exciting one for them.”
Nigerian players such as Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha are Premier League legends, and Awoniyi hopes to continue the fine tradition of Super Eagles stars blazing a trail in the English top flight.
“The Premier League is very big in Nigeria because of players like Kanu, Okocha, Yakubu, Yobo, Odemwingie and many others who all played here,” Awoniyi added.
“Many people pick their clubs depending on where a Nigerian is playing or teams the family like. We all grew up watching it and love it, and it is actually a dream come true to know that millions will be watching me now.
“I want to give my best all the time and by God’s grace it will help us achieve our goals.”
The 24-year-old, who was on Liverpool’s books for six years from 2015 to 2021 but never made a senior competitive appearance, will have the chance to play in the Premier League for the first time on Saturday afternoon when Nottingham face Newcastle United at St. James Park.