God given glory for striker’s record run

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Premier League striker Taiwo Awoniyi is in seventh heaven after a record-breaking goalscoring run.

The Nigerian frontman broke Nottingham Forest legend Stan Collymore’s six-game scoring sequence for the club this season. 

Awoniyi, 26, netted at Old Trafford against Manchester United to beat Collymore’s record, and gives God the glory for all his success.

The run even started the previous season with a goal against Southampton, after which the attacker lifted his club top to reveal a T-shirt with the messages “Hallelujah, Hosanna” and “Psalms and Peace”.

Previously, while on loan from Liverpool at Mouscron, his after-goal T-shirt prompted a Belgian Football Association warning for revealing the Ecclesiastes verse, “Fear God. Keep his commandments for this is the duty of man.”

Awoniyi answers to a higher authority, though, so continued his shirt messages at the City Ground, and regularly shares his faith on social media.   

He recently posted a Proverbs verse on Instagram, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding”, introducing it with: “Thanks to our fans for the great support and glory be to Jesus Christ!”

Awoniyi thanked Forest boss Steve Cooper for his role in his success, but added: “For me, it’s always about hard work, dedication, and belief in God.”

The 6ft, powerhouse forward joined Forest for £17 million from Union Berlin after suffering an unsettling time after being signed by Liverpool in 2015. 

A lack of caps for Nigeria meant he couldn’t gain a work permit, so he had to endure seven loan spells in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany before a permanent switch to Berlin in 2021.

Meanwhile, Awoniyi had special cause to thank God after a sickening head injury during one of the loan spells threatened to end his career. He clashed with fellow Christian Felix Uduokhai before going down and being rushed to hospital (pictured on the main photo, above).

He told the BBC: “I can never underestimate the impact of faith on my life and career. God used the referee on the pitch before they took me to the hospital. I fell awkwardly and that image scared a lot of people including my family and friends, but the intervention of the referee and medics from both clubs was swift.

“Most significantly, I recovered remarkably quickly and it was a moment of deep reflection about God when I left the hospital. Faith means everything to me; I put it above football.”

From New Life Newspaper issue 347

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