FC Union Berlin sporting director Oliver Ruhnert expressed some annoyance at the procedural problems associated with Taiwo Awoniyi's call up to the Africa cup of Nations, but nevertheless expressed confidence that the current squad had enough attacking options to supplement.
"When you sign a player like Taiwo Awoniyi, you have to respect the fact that there is an Africa Cup of Nations in January," Runhert said on Wednesday, "Part of the achievement with his performances is that the Nigerian national team has taken notice of him and nominated him. First and foremost, that's a positive development."
"We're nevertheless going to miss him," the executive continued when discussing his nine-goal scorer, "that annoys us. Many clubs are angry because we didn't receive a good hygiene concept and don't understand how the process works."
Ruhnert took a shot at the Nigerian FA, which let go acting head-coach Gernot Rohr shortly before the squads were finalized. As a result, Ruhnert claims, his club wasn't informed about Awoniyi's call-up in a timely manner.
In a statement clearly directed at the German government itself, Ruhnert expressed concern that hosting country Cameroon might by classified as a "variant area" by the Bundesrepublik's federal regime.
Last Winter, to quite a bit of controversy one might add, the German government attempted to bar incoming travelers from so-called "Delta Variant Countries". The U.K. being classified as one such country meant that German clubs hosting EPL sides for Champions' League fixtures had to move their matches to the Puskas Arena in Budapest.
Many consider the "Delta Variant" travel restrictions to be something of an overreaction on behalf of the government. The restrictions were ultimately scrapped in March 2021.
"If Cameroon gets classified as a variant area, then all players will have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return," Ruhnert noted, adding, "We need the highest possible security to guarantee the safety of our players and avoid an outbreak."
After getting some of these remarks off his chest, Ruhnert noted that he still believed in a squad that has "enough offensive players".
Union were able to keep producing goals last season despite the fact that injuries ravaged their striking corps. Awoniyi, Max Kruse, Joel Pohjanpalo, Cedric Teuchert, Sheraldo Becker, and Marcus Ingvartsen were all able to rack up multiple goal counts in Urs Fischer's interchangeable 3-5-2 "double stack", which the FCU trainer still uses this season.
This year, Kruse, Andreas Voglsammer, Kevin Behrens, Becker, Teuchert, and Genki Haraguchi have all managed to be productive in terms of goals and assists from at or near Awoniyi's position.