As Nigeria’s Super Eagles get ready to play Liberia this weekend, 2013 FIFA U17 world cup winning team coach, Manu Garba has been speaking about one of his protégés who is on the fringes of breaking into the team.
Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi has been in great goal scoring form for his German side scoring over the weekend as Union Berlin beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 in the German Bundesliga.
He now has five goals in six games for the club in the new season.
And his former youth coach is excited for the former Liverpool but recalls what exactly Awoniyi was doing when he was called to join Nigeria’s U-17 team.
"He was drinking garri at home when I called him to come join the World cup winning team," an excited Garba told our correspondent in a text message.
The two time FIFA U17 world cup winner could not hide his excitement at Taiwo's newly discovered goal scoring form.
He also went down memory lane to recall how Awoniyi began his rise to stardom from the slums of Ilorin, a city in Kwara State, Nigeria.
"He wasn't part of the U17 screening process in Abuja and was drinking Gari at home in Ilorin and I called him to come and join us in Calabar and fight for a place in the FIFA U17 world cup winning team," Manu said.
Awoniyi scored four goals to help Nigeria win the FIFA U17 World cup in 2013 and his style of play has been compared to that of Nigeria's all-time highest goal scorer late Rashidi Yekini.
He signed for Liverpool in 2015 after his exploits at the World Cup but never made any appearance for the Premier League side.
Awoniyi had to embark on loan spells from Frankfurt in Germany for the 2015-2016 season to NEC in the Eredisivie the following season.
Then he joined Mouscron in the Belgiul before playing for another Belgium side Gent.
The 24 year old then moved back to the Bundesliga with Mainz in 2019 before another loan spell with Union Berlin last year.
In July, the Nigerian striker made his move Union permanent and has started the season in fine form.