Nottingham Forest striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, has withdrawn from the Super Eagles squad to face Zimbabwe in a 2026 World Cup qualifier in Kigali, Rwanda.
Awoniyi was taken off in the 59th minute in Thursday’s matchday one fixture against Lesotho which ended 1-1, with the Super Eagles X handle confirming on Friday the 25-year-old will miss Sunday’s clash after picking up a groin injury.
A post on the Super Eagles X page reads, “Taiwo Awoniyi has left camp for his base due to a pain in the groin and returns to England tonight (Friday) after discussions between his club doctors and the Super Eagles medical team.”
In spite of Awoniyi’s absence, Jose Peseiro has enough quality in his team as the Portuguese tactician can call upon either Terem Moffi or Sadiq Umar.
Also, Nathan Tella, catching the eye with his pace and movement at Bayer Leverkusen, could be in line for a debut, while his club teammate Victor Boniface, who made his full home debut against Lesotho could be primed to break his international duck.
The 22-year-old has been a revelation in the Bundesliga since signing from Union Saint-Gilloise, netting seven and registering a further five assists in 11 Germán topflight outings so far.
Meanwhile, fans have called out Awoniyi after he missed a sitter as Nigeria failed to start their World Cup qualifier on a winning note.
The former Union Berlin striker failed to convert a brilliant cut-back pass from Victor Boniface in the 36th minute that could have given Nigeria the lead.
While most of the vitriol was leveled at goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, Awoniyi has received some criticism, with fans comparing his first-half miss to the unforgettable miss by former Eagles striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni at the 2010 World Cup against Korea.
Boring Writa @the_boringwrita wrote, “On this day in South Africa 2010 World Cup, Nigeria’s Yakuba Aiyegbeni missed an open net against South Korea.”
@AlaShiNe also posted on X, “Awoniyi just did a Yakubu. I can’t believe he pulled a Yakubu Aiyegbeni against Lesotho”
@Nadalchukwu said, “No difference between Awoniyi’s miss and that of Yakubu, just different occasion.
@Nweketim said, “On a scale of Yakubu – Aiyegbeni, how shocking was that miss by Awoniyi.”
@CallMeBenfigo added, “Awoniyi is the new Yakubu.”