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The incredible story of Dapo Afolayan: From English non-league to Bundesliga

Published at :May 13, 2024 at 6:27 PM
Modified at :May 13, 2024 at 6:27 PM
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(Courtesy : Dapo Afolayan)

Rajarshi Shukla


Afolayan spent last season playing for Bolton

Dapo Afolayan, a former Bolton Wanderers favourite, scored a brace against Osnabruck to propel FC St. Pauli to the Bundesliga.

The German team won 3-0 at the Millerntor Stadium to earn all three points, even though they only needed one to guarantee their place in the automatic promotion slots. Before the half, Afolayan scored twice and assisted Marcel Hartel with a cross to score the third.

Now, FC St. Pauli will have the opportunity to put themselves to the test next season against teams like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Bayer Leverkusen.

“I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and I’m actually going to go out and see him sometime in May,” Evatt told The Bolton News.

“I am so happy for him, he’s a brilliant young man who did fantastically well for us, and he could potentially end the season being a Bundesliga player which is one of the top leagues in Europe.

“He deserves it, and I am really proud of him. We have a good relationship, and I am looking forward to catching up with him.”

Afolayan, who has made 33 games in all tournaments and scored 10 goals, has been a key player this season. After establishing an impression for the Whites, the 26-year-old moved to St. Pauli in January 2023. He first signed on loan from West Ham and made the move permanent the following summer.

After striking the goal 14 times in the 2021-22 season, Afolayan was named Bolton’s Player of the Year. Ian Evatt stated last month that Wanderers will receive additional funding should St Pauli succeed in their drive for promotion.

Following his discharge from Chelsea’s youth academy due to his preference for academics over football, Afolayan was affiliated with Toronto, Barnet, Tooting & Mitcham, and Loughborough University, among other teams.

Before joining West Ham in 2018, the Harrow-born attacker played in the domestic league for Solihull Moors for 18 months.

Though he scored in a 4-0 victory over Doncaster in the FA Cup in 2021, the Hammers made just one outing in his three years in east London.

Prior to making a long-term signing for Bolton in February 2021, he had loan stints at Oldham, Mansfield and West Ham.

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