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Awoniyi fires warning to Sierra Leone ahead AFCON 2023 qualifier

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Taiwo Awoniyi is adamant club success enjoyed by his Nigeria teammates will be vital in their Afcon qualifier against Sierra Leone.

Awoniyi played a crucial role in helping the English side escape relegation from the Premier League, scoring five goals in the club’s last three matches.

Samuel Chukwueze had a good season with Villarreal winning the Best African Player Award in La Liga, while Ademola Lookman excelled with Atalanta. Alex Iwobi delivered for Everton and helped the Toffees survive the axe in the Premier League.

The highlight of it all, however, was Victor Osimhen who became the first African to win the Serie A Golden Boot as Napoli clinched their first Scudetto in 33 years.

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Awoniyi now believes the club’s achievements can help the Super Eagles beat the Leone Stars.

“This is a game [against Sierra Leone] that is very important to the country because you have to play it once, it’s not a league game where you have an opportunity to play again,” Awoniyi told Soccernet.

“That is how I see every Super Eagles game, and that’s the kind of spirit I will take to the game if I get to Liberia.

“This is a game that you have to put in your best because you only have 90 minutes to play. Perhaps, the next time you play again in September or thereabout.

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“Of course, Nigerians should not expect anything other than victory. Because looking at the caliber of players that we have in the team, these are players that have done well for their club sides, and I hope that we can bring home the same spirit that we have from our club sides.

“If we can bring it back, there is no nation that can beat the Super Eagles.”

The 25-year-old is making a return to the national team for the first time since September 2022. However, he will face stiff competition from the inform Osimhen, and Kelechi Iheanacho for a starting berth.

Nigeria top Group A with nine points and a point will be enough to send them to the finals to be held in Ivory Coast in January 2024.
The Super Eagles won the initial meeting against Sierra Leone 2-1 and will be aiming at completing a double on Sunday.

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