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Nigerian striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, joins newly promoted Nottingham Forest for club record fee

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Super Eagles striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, has sealed a five year move worth £17.5 million to newly promoted English Premier League side, Nottingham Forest, which is a record fee for the modest club.

The 24-year-old Awoniyi moved from modest Bundesliga side, Union Berlin, back to the EPL after his time with Liverpool where he failed to make a single appearance.

The Under 17 world cup winner leaves the German league after scoring 20 goals in 43 games in all competitions last season for Union, with 15 of the goals in Bundesliga games which helped Union finish fifth, thereby qualifying for the UEFA Europa League for the first time since 2001-02.

Awoniyi had joined Liverpool for the start of his professional career in 2015, following his crucial role for the Golden Eaglets in their U-17 World Cup triumph in 2013, but due to work permit issues, he was farmed out on several loans spells outside of England before finally earning a permanent move to the German outfit last season.

Nottingham Forest also confirmed the signing of the powerful forward in a tweet on the club’s official Twitter handle on Friday.

“Nottingham Forest are delighted to confirm the signing of Nigerian international forward Taiwo Awoniyi for a club-record fee,” the club also wrote on their official website page.

Speaking on the move, Awoniyi who featured for the Super Eagles at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon earlier this year, said it was an easy decision for him to make.

“I’m very excited to be here at Nottingham Forest. It’s always been my dream to play in the Premier League and having spoken to (Coach) Steve Cooper about our ambitions and looking at Forest, with its great history, it’s a club that I want to be part of,” he said at his unveiling.

Forest head coach Steve Cooper also expressed his delight at signing the Super Eagles star whom he said had attracted a host of clubs in the Premier League and across Europe.

“There’s been a lot of interest in Taiwo from other Premier League clubs, and other clubs across Europe, so we’re delighted that he’s chosen Nottingham Forest,” said Cooper.

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Nigeria’s Taiwo Awoniyi makes history as he scores Nottingham Forest’s first EPL goal in 23 years

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles striker, Taiwo Awoniyi has entered into the history books of Nottingham Forest as he netted The Reds first Premier League goal after 23 years as the EPL new boys pipped West Ham 1-0 on Sunday.

Awoniyi was up and running in his second game of the season and scored the only goal in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over West Ham at City ground.

This was Awoniyi’s first full start for the Tricky Trees after coming on as a second-half sub in the 2-0 loss to Newcastle in the first match of season.

The Nigeria international’s first-half goal separated both teams in the keenly contested match which saw Dean Henderson save and a disallowed West Ham goal, saw him become the 37th Nigerian to score in the EPL.

The former Union Berlin forward was handed the starting shirt alongside Jesse Lingard and Brennan Johnson in a three-man attack and came close to opening his account in the early minutes but his header from Neco Williams’ cross sailed over Lukasz Fabianski’s crossbar.

Just before the break, Awoniyi struck albeit in a scrappy manner as the ball hit his knee and flew past Fabiansky to settle in the back of the net.

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Ballon d’Or: Do African nominees, Mane, Salah, Mahrez, Haller, Oshoala stand any chance?

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It is pleasant news that five African players have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or award with Egypt and Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, topping the list.

Other African stars, Sadio Mane of Senegal, Algerian Riyad Mahrez, Ivory Coast striker, Sebastien Haller and Nigerian Super Falcons and Barcelona striker, Asisat Oshoala, also made the shortlist released on Friday.

So far, former Liberian captain, George Weah, is the only African to have won the Ballon d’Or award which he picked up in 1995 while playing for AC Milan.

With the five African stars nominated to battle the likes of France and Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema, and his national team mate, Killian Mbape of PSG, it is left to be seen if the continent stars stand any chance of following in Weah’s footsteps.

Here, Africanewswatch takes a look at the five and their chances of picking the prestigious award.

Mohamed Salah

This is the fourth time the Egyptian forward will be getting a Ballon d’Or nomination with his best finish being fifth position in 2019. In 2018, he was sixth in 2018, and seventh in 2021.

This could be Salah’s best chance of winning the award after scooping the Premier League PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award last seasonThe Liverpool striker scored 31 goals in all competitions (23 in the league) and 15 assists for Liverpool to win the Premier League Golden Boot Award as the Reds won the FA and Carabao Cups and reached the Champions League final.

Mohamed Salah with his PFA award (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah with his PFA award (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The only setback to an otherwise fantastic season was Egypt losing the 2021 Afcon to a Sadio Mané inspired Senagal in Cameroon as well as missing the 2022 World Cup.

Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané’s status as the reigning African Player of the Year should propel him to give the award a big shout following his brilliant form for club and country.

The Senegal and Bayern Munich strike star netted 23 goals for Liverpool in the EPL, won the FA and Carabao Cups, reached the final of the Champions League, led Senegal to her first Afcon trophy before ending with the African Player of the Year.

African player of the year,  Sadio Mane (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

African player of the year, Sadio Mane (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

To add to a spectacular year, Mane was instrumental to qualifying Senegal for the Qatar World Cup at the expense of Egypt.

Three years ago, Mane was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or where he finished fourth behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.

Riyad Mahrez

Algerian captain and Manchester City winger, Riyad Mahrez is another African star who has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or after a fantastic season for the EPL Champions where he scored 24 goals and notched up nine assists as Pep Guardiola’s men romped to the Premier League title.

He also scored crucial goals as Man City reached the semi finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Riyad Mahrez is also in with a shout (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Riyad Mahrez is also in with a shout (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

He could, however, not replicate his fine club form for Algeria following a dismal outing at the Afcon in Cameroon as they were eliminated in the group stage.

Mahrez has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or three times before now.

Sebastien Haller

From every indication, Sebastien Haller of Ivory Coast is an outsider when it comes to winning the Ballon d’Or even with his impressive outing for Ajax last season.

He was the Dutch club’s highest goal scorer with 34 goals and seven assists in all competitions and won the Eredivisie Golden Boot Award after scoring 21 league goals.

Sebastien Haller may just be making up the number (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sebastien Haller may just be making up the number (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

But the newly signed Borussia Dortmund forward did not have a great run for the national team as the Ivorians were knocked out of the Afcon by Egypt in the round of 16.

Asisat Oshoala

Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Barcelona forward, Asisat Oshoala is the only African female player nominated in the women’s category, following a fantastic season with the Spanish team where she scored 20 goals and took home the women Pichichi award.

Oshoala was a strong force in the Barca attack as they won the league, Super Cup and Copa de la Reina titles.

She also won the female version of the African Player of the Year for the fifth time, the first by any player in the continent.

Asisat Oshoala is the first African woman to be nominated for the  Ballon d'Or (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Asisat Oshoala is the first African woman to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

However, her chances of winning the Ballon d’Or got slimmer after the Super Falcons failed to retain their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations crown in Morocco where she played only one match after suffering an injury in their tournament’s first match.

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