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Olawoyin hopeful for Super Eagles debut ahead of South Africa, Benin ties

Turkey-based Nigerian midfielder Ibrahim Olawoyin is looking forward to making his senior team debut with the Super Eagles ahead of their upcoming African qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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The 26-year-old, who plays in the Turkish Super Lig for Çaykur Rizespor, was called up by head coach Finidi George to replace Nathan Tella after the Bayer Leverkusen forward withdrew from the team due to family-related matters.

Talking to the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) media team, Olawoyin, who is currently with the Eagles team in Uyo, Akwa Ibom revealed he was delighted by the call and that if called upon, he is ready to give his all and make the nation proud.

Yeah, I feel so amazing, like I feel great about this,” he said when asked about how he felt about his first national team call-up. “It’s a big privilege for me, which I will cherish for a long time. I appreciate this and it’s a great feeling for me.

My family and friends were so happy and the congratulation was so, so big and I feel so great about that also.

I will surely give my best if called upon because like I said, it’s a privilege wearing this jersey because you are representing the whole nation. So, I’ll surely give my best.

Olawoyin enjoyed a productive campaign in Turkey in the 2023–24 season, helping Rizespor with eight goals and three assists in 36 league matches, and the quick-witted midfielder revealed he was surprised by the call-up despite the type of season he had.

Yeah, it was a fantastic season for me. Like everyone said, I’m really happy about that, I started the season very well,” he stated. Also, I was gradually getting better in the league. The second half of the season was much better for me. I could get eight goals and three assists and a lot of wonderful performance all round. I’m grateful for that.

On his first Super Eagles call-up, he said: “Well, it came as a like a surprise to me, a real surprise, but I’m so happy it finally came and I’ll be looking forward to get the chance if given to me and try to prove myself.

Olawoyin will be hoping his number is called when Nigeria takes on South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on matchday 3 of the African qualifiers on Friday, June 7, at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

The team will then head to Abidjan to take on the Cheetahs of Benin Republic on Monday, June 10, at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium.

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