Nigeria senior team coach Stephen Keshi has given U20 striker Taiwo Awoniyi the green light to lead the Super Eagles attack when he finishes with the U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Awoniyi, a top talent in the Flying Eagles squad, is expected to light up the youth championship that starts next week with his eye for goal and impressive physique.
The 18-year-old scored a brace for Samson Siasia’s U23 squad in a recent All African Games qualifier in Lusaka, Zambia, and it would be only a matter of time before he makes his senior team debut.
Keshi told Goal that Awoniyi is ripe enough to lead the Eagles attack but must indicate his readiness to take that responsibility on the field of play.
“If you will recall, I gave Awoniyi his first call up to the Super Eagles sometimes ago because I know that he has the quality of a goal poacher who can deliver the goals when needed,” Keshi told Goal.
“But like I have always explained, playing for the age grade national teams is different from the Super Eagles.
“Taiwo Awoniyi is young and talented and has the quality of a good striker. So who says he can’t lead the Eagles attack?
“He just needs to be ready for the task and show it on the field of play which I believe the boy is capable of doing.”
The 53-year-old wished his future lead man a good time at the Fifa tournament where Nigeria have never won despite reaching two finals.
“I pray that he continues to wax stronger with the Flying Eagles at the World Cup. His performance in New Zealand will be good for his confidence level and will also help prepare him for the Super Eagles task.
“Like I said, the boy is a good player,” he said.
The Nigeria U20 side will begin their title challenge with a game against Brazil on June 1 in New Plymouth.