By Johnny Edward:
Nigeria Football Federation technical and development committee member, Victor Ikpeba, has urged handlers of the Super Eagles not to rush Flying Eagles sensation, Taiwo Awoniyi, into the senior national team.
Football followers and stakeholders have expressed their opinions on the need for NFF and the Super Eagles handlers to see Awoniyi could be drafted into the team to solve the senior national team’s scoring challenges but Ikpeba, a former youth international, believes the 17-year–old needs two more years to be ripe for the big stage.
Despite the fact that the rising star justified his inclusion in the Olympic Eagles squad in Lusaka at the weekend, scoring a brace to seal Nigeria’s berth in the men’s football event of the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo later in the year, Ikpeba says he still needs more time to develop.
“Taiwo Awoniyi is gradually working his way up and we must allow him to develop well,” Ikpeba, the 1997 African Footballer of the Year, said on SuperSport Monday Night Football last night.
“He needs more time to hone his skills. Incidentally I spotted Awoniyi in my team during the Copa Coca-Cola U-16 championship in Nigeria and no one believed he would become a big hit.
“He will be ready for the Eagles in the next two years. The 2017 AFCON will be the best time for him to blossom.”
Meanwhile, Awoniyi is expected to sign a professional contract at Swedish side Kalmar FC when he turns 18 years.