Union Berlin head coach Urs Fischer has revealed that the club would not hinder Taiwo Awoniyi from going to the Africa Cup of Nations should he be included in the Nigerian squad for the tournament.
The Swiss manager, however, admits that the club would miss the services of the former Liverpool signing.
Awoniyi is not guaranteed a spot in the Super Eagles’ roster for Cameroon 2021, with Nigeria boasting several top-quality strikers playing in some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
But injuries to Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and KRC Genk’s Paul Onuachu have brightened the chances of Awoniyi making head coach Augustine Eguavoen’s final 23-man shortlist.
If Awoniyi makes the squad and Nigeria reach the Afcon final on February 6, the 24-year-old could potentially miss four Bundesliga games and the German Cup derby against Hertha Berlin on January 19.
Manager Fischer is worried about losing his top goalscorer during that period. Still, he confesses he would not attempt to deny the club-record signing the chance of representing his fatherland.
“I would allow the player, but that wouldn’t help us,” the 55-year-old trainer said, as per Bz-Berlin.
After seven years on the book of Liverpool and being shipped on loan to clubs in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, Awoniyi signed permanently for Union Berlin in the summer.
And the Nigerian international has hit the ground running, notching 14 goals in 27 games across all competitions.
But the goals have dried up a bit in recent weeks, with Awoniyi netting just twice in his last ten matches.
But Fischer says Awoniyi may have suffered from playing too many games in the opening months of the campaign.
Fischer added: “It was a completely new experience for him too to play so many games in a row in half a season.
“He got off to a really great start and suffered a bit towards the end. Taiwo was maybe a bit overplayed, but we still needed him.”
Awoniyi featured prominently at the weekend as Union Berlin recorded a fine away win at Bochum to finish the year on a high.