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Awoniyi reveals he wants to replicate what Kanu, Okocha did in the Premier League

Awoniyi reveals he wants to replicate what Kanu, Okocha did in the Premier League

The 24-year-old Nigeria international joined Forest last month, from Union Berlin for a club-record £17.5 million after scoring 20 goals in 43 games across all competitions last season.

Born in Ilorin, Nigeria and having grown up among many Premier League lovers, Awoniyi understands how passionate Nigerians can be once it comes to the English League.

The striker believes that his move might get fans to create a Nottingham Forest fanbase in Nigeria as they did with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool.

“Our fans love to watch and support Nigerians playing in the Premier League and I believe some of them will try to create a Nottingham Forest fanbase, too,” Awoniyi said in an interview with BBC Sport Africa.

“I know Nigerians like some clubs already, but when you have one of their own and play attractive football, you will automatically get them on your side.

“I believe they will support us, and of course, I have my friends and family who were already waiting for me to play in England. It will be an exciting one for them.”

The ‘for life’ chant is famous in the Nigerian fandom circles, with fans of various clubs, chanting the names of their respective teams and pledging their support for life.

In a bid to follow the footsteps of his predecessors in the Premier League, Awoniyi added that he would as well like to give his best to the millions watching him.

“The Premier League is very big in Nigeria because of players like Kanu, Okocha, Yakubu, Yobo, Odemwingie and many others who all played here,” Awoniyi added.

“Many people pick their clubs depending on where a Nigerian is playing or teams the family like. We all grew up watching it and love it, and it is actually a dream come true to know that millions will be watching me now.

“I want to give my best all the time and by God’s grace it will help us achieve our goals.”

Efan Ekoku of Norwich City became the first African to score a hat-trick in the division in 1993, and Daniel Amokachi played for Everton from 1994 to 1996 for two seasons.

In 1997, Celestine Babayaro joined Chelsea as the club’s record teenage signing having moved from Anderlecht for £2.25 million, a tenure majority of Nigerians followed avidly thanks to the development of satellite TV.

Jay-Jay Okocha’s entertaining tenure at Bolton Wanderers from 2002 to 2006, succeeded Kanu’s time at Arsenal which brought millions of fans to the North London club.

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