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Nigerian Player Heading For Liverpool Struggles With Work Permit

Nigerian U-23 and Royal Excel Mouscron of Belgium attacker, Taiwo Awoniyi, is sad that even after four years he has not been able to get a work permit to enable him achieve his dream of playing for Liverpool in England

Taiwo Awoniyi hopes to meet Liverpool management at the end of this season to discuss his future / Photo credit: Twitter
Taiwo Awoniyi hopes to meet Liverpool management at the end of this season to discuss his future / Photo credit: Twitter

Nigerian U-23 and Royal Excel Mouscron of Belgium attacker, Taiwo Awoniyi, has expressed his displeasure at his inability to get a work permit that would allow him to play in the English Premier League as he continues to play on loan in Belgium:

Can you describe the Belgian league after playing there for more than three seasons now?

The past two years have been wonderful for me in Belgium. It’s a nice place to be for Nigerian players.
You made the Team of the Week recently following your performance in the Belgian league.

How did you achieve that?

I always try to stay calm and also keep working hard. Even when the results are not coming, I continue to work hard. The result of the hard work is now showing in my game in Belgium where I keep on scoring and, luckily for me, I continue to get into the team of the week.

It was a great pleasure for me and the most important thing for me is to continue to get results for my team.

Taiwo Awoniyi during a match / Photo credit: Modo Victor
Taiwo Awoniyi during a match / Photo credit: Modo Victor

It was a great pleasure for me and the most important thing for me is to continue to get results for my team.
Do you think you need to do more as a player?

There is no limit to what you can achieve as a player and the goal is to keep on working hard. As a player, you have to keep on fighting not just for yourself but for your name and family.

This is important for all players because the moment you drop your guard, there are a lot of people that will be affected. You have to have that at the back of your mind that you are carrying a lot of responsibilities.

You have to keep on working and looking forward to the next target and opportunity to survive and have a good career for yourself as a player.

To be honest, most of us in the U-23 team never believed that we would be where we are at this stage of our careers

After winning the U-17 World Cup, another opportunity beckons to win another major championship, although the Olympic Eagles have to qualify for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations first. Are you satisfied with your career so far?

To be honest, most of us in the U-23 team never believed that we would be where we are at this stage of our careers.

I will say we deserve respect, not in an arrogant way but we need to be respected. Personally, I am from a poor background, and getting to where I am today is all through hard work and making sacrifices.

So sometimes when as a player we read stuff that’s negative, it is not really good for us. I am always satisfied with what I have achieved.

I am a Christian and I have faith in every situation that I find myself in that God has the final say. I am however looking forward to a better challenge.

For now, I am thankful to God and also looking forward to a better future because I never believed I would be at this stage at this moment. I always have the ambition of becoming a football player and for me to be where I am today, it is all by God and also hard work on my part.

You signed for Liverpool, but you have been on loan for a while now. Do you still see your future at Liverpool?

Let me start from the way I got the contract to join Liverpool. It was something unusual, for a young player to move straight from Nigeria to Liverpool.

My dream was to play in England and I chose Liverpool because it was an opportunity for me, but unfortunately, for the past four years, it has been difficult to get a work permit.

Each season I keep going back to discuss and same applies to this season. Immediately after the playoffs in Belgium, I will have to go back to England, to meet with the Liverpool management and see the new plan where I will know if it is best for me to stay, go out on loan again, or move on to another club entirely.

That will however be the decision between Liverpool, my agent and myself. It however saddens my heart that for the past four years I have not been able to get a work permit to be able to achieve my dream of playing in England.

Even when the results are not coming, I continue to work hard. The result of the hard work is now showing in my game in Belgium where I keep on scoring and, luckily for me, I continue to get into the team of the week

How has playing for different clubs on loan affected you?

I have been to five different clubs and it has not been easy for me because every year you meet different players, different coaches, different environments, different culture and that makes it difficult to adapt.

But knowing full well where I was coming from, I mean my background, I have to stand on my feet and face the challenges. No matter what people do or say, I continue to stay true to myself and my family.

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