Taiwo Awoniyi is a name that resonates with football lovers. The Nottingham Forest striker has had a remarkable career so far, and he’s not forgetting his roots. He grew up in Ilorin, and he recently traveled back home to give back to the grassroots.

Awoniyi initiated and sponsored a football tournament for football academies in Ilorin- the Never Stop Dreaming Cup. After weeks of grueling football, the final took place on Saturday at the Sheikh Abdulkadir College Pitch, where his story began. The game was keenly contested, and International FC emerged victorious after beating Unicorn FC on penalties.

The Nottingham Forest star was present with his family and Eintracht Braunschweig star Anthony Ujah. He also invited his agent Maximilian Brommer to scout some of the best players from the game. The winner of the competition, International FC, took home 1 million naira, second place won 750,000, and third won 500,000.

Awoniyi started his career playing on one of the pitches at the Sheikh Adbulkadir College in Ilorin, and that was where he was scouted by the Imperial Soccer Academy. He then played for Nigeria’s Under-17 team, where he shone, scoring four goals at the 2013 World Cup. Liverpool then signed him on, but because of his inability to get a work permit, he had to go on different loan deals in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

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He finally got his breakthrough two years ago after signing for Union Berlin, where he impressed before joining Nottingham Forest in the Premier League last summer. Awoniyi scored ten Premier League goals for Nottingham Forest last season, and he would be looking to take that form to Liberia in the Super Eagles’ crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Liberia on the 18th of June.

Awoniyi’s philanthropy is commendable, and it shows that he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. His initiative to give back to the grassroots is a gesture that should be emulated by other football stars. His story is an inspiration to many young footballers who are looking to make it to the big stage.

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