African All Stars

Taiye Taiwo: Palloilijat sign former AC Milan & Olympique Marseille star

8:10 PM WAT 08/12/2021
Taiye Taiwo
The former Nigeria international has joined the Finnish third division outfit as he continues his professional football career

Former Nigeria international Taiye Taiwo has confirmed his move to Salon Palloilijat.

The 36-year-old left-back penned a one-year contract with the Finnish third-tier outfit that will take effect from January 1, 2022.

Prior to the move, Taiwo has been training with Italian fourth division side Sant’Angelo as he is keen to continue his professional career.

In an interview with BBC Sport Africa, he explained his motivation to continue playing football.

"The reason I can play football actively now is because I still have plenty left in the tank," he said.

"A lot of people always say that Africans retire early but I am living proof that we can still play into our late 30s and early 40s.

"I know it's a club in the third division and they are keen to gain promotion. It could be my biggest challenge in Finland, another country I can call home.

"I love challenges, and the ambition of the club to play in the second tier was a big factor in my decision to come back to Finland.

"I know I could've gone elsewhere but imagine achieving success with Salon Palloilijat - people will talk about me forever in the city.

"At this stage of my life and after the career I have had, I believe I can help the younger players, act like a role model, pass on my knowledge and together we can help the team."

Taiwo joined Olympique Marseille from Nigeria Professional Football League side Lobi Stars following an impressive performance at the U20 Fifa World Cup 2005 – where he was named as the third-best player.

In France, he won one Ligue 1 title, two French League Cups as well as one Uefa Inter Toto Cup.

After six seasons at Stade Velodrome, he was snapped up by Serie A giants AC Milan and was loaned to Queens Park Rangers and Dynamo Kyiv as he was unable to break into the San Siro’s side's first team.

The well-travelled player also enjoyed spells at Bursaspor, HJK Helsinki, Lausanne, AFC Eskilstuna, RoPS, Doxa Katokopias, Trallwm FC and Palm Beach Stars.

On the international scene, he played in 54 matches for the Super Eagles and was part of the squad that finished third at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.