Nigerian professional footballer Taye Ismaila Taiwo, born on 16 April 1985 in Lagos, plays as a defender for Kakkonen club SalPa.

Taiwo started playing football for Gabros International and Lobi Stars, two teams in the Nigerian Premier League. At the age of 20, Taiwo relocated to France when he signed a three-year contract with French club Marseille. The reported transfer fee was 200,000 euros. To replace the vacuum created when Bixente Lizarazu moved for Bayern Munich, Taiwo was added. Until the end of January, Taiwo had not formally moved into the club.

He made his debut for Marseille on March 12, 2005, when head coach Philippe Troussier called him to the first squad. The club defeated RC Lens 2-1, and he played the first 61 minutes of the game before being replaced. Following the game, Foot Marseille commented on Taiwo’s performance, saying: “For his debut in White, this athletic Nigerian started well with a goal ball for Luyindula and a few solid interventions then seemed absolutely confused on the pitch never knowing how to place himself. These outrageous errors were reinforced in his second half.

Before the 2005–06 campaign began, Taiwo was rumored to be transferring to Eredivisie team PSV Eindhoven in return for Lee Young-pyo moving in the other direction. However, Marseille president Pape Diouf ruled out the trade. He signed a contract extension with the team, keeping him there until 2009, which put an end to transfer rumors. When Taiwo made himself a member of the first squad and began playing left-back, the season got off to a good start. Then, in a 3-2 victory over BSC Young Boys in the first leg of the UEFA Intertoto Cup’s Third Round, Taiwo scored his first goal of the year. In the second leg, the club won 2-1 to go to the next round as he assisted Samir Nasri with the game-winning goal.

After Marseille defeated Lazio and Deportivo La Coruna, Taiwo later assisted Marseille in capturing the Intertoto Cup. He didn’t score his second club goal until a 1-1 draw against Lyon on August 14, 2005.

Taiwo participated in both legs of the UEFA Cup first round matchup between Marseille and Germinal Beerschot. After 210 total minutes of play ended in a 0-0 stalemate, Taiwo helped Marseille win 4-1 in the shootout. On November 24, 2005, Taiwo returned to the starting lineup after serving a one-match suspension and scored to help Marseille advance to the UEFA Cup knockout round.

He returned to the starting lineup against Toulouse on February 12th, 2006, after missing the entire month of January owing to an international obligation, and helped the team win 1-0 while keeping a clean sheet. After his comeback, Taiwo kept working to reclaim his spot on the first squad, playing left-back. He scored upon his return to the starting lineup in the Coupe de France semifinal match against Rennes after serving a second one-match suspension, and he assisted Marseille in keeping a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory to advance to the Cup de France Final.

Eight days later, on April 29, 2006, Taiwo started the club’s 2-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the championship game. He made fifty appearances towards the end of the 2005–06 campaign, scoring four times across all competitions.

Before the 2007–08 season began, Taiwo was still rumored to be leaving Marseille for a team in Europe, namely Valencia. He started the season’s first match against Strasbourg and contributed to the team’s clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. After being benched for the following two games, Taiwo started against Nancy on August 19, 2007, and assisted in setting up Marseille’s opening goal in a 2-2 draw. He played left-back as he worked to reclaim his spot on the starting lineup. On September 18, 2007, Taiwo faced Beşiktaş in his UEFA Champions League debut, winning 2-0 while keeping a clean sheet.


Taiwo was selected for the Nigeria U20 team to compete in the FIFA World Youth Championship in May 2005. On June 12, 2005, he faced Brazil U20 in his opening match of the competition and contributed to the U20 team’s clean sheet in a 0-0 tie. After Nigeria U20 defeated Switzerland U20 3-0 on Matchday Three, Taiwo then assisted Nigeria U20 in moving on to the knockout round.

He then scored in a subsequent game, a 1-0 victory over Ukraine U20, to advance his team to the next round. Taiwo played the entire game against the Netherlands U20 team in the quarterfinal, forcing a penalty shootout. He converted all three penalties, including the decisive one to advance the U20 team to the semifinals. In a 3-0 victory over Morocco U20 in the semifinals, he scored his second goal of the competition. Taiwo started the entire game for Nigeria U20 against Argentina U20 in the championship, which they lost 2-1. After the competition, after Mikel John Obi and Lionel Messi, he was awarded the third-best player.

Taiwo’s inclusion in the Nigeria U23 team for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, was in doubt in July 2008. He would ultimately not be a member of the squad, as it was said three times in all. Unfortunately, Nigeria U23 would subsequently win a silver medal after losing 1-0 to Argentina U23 while he was away.


After being previously called up to the Nigerian team in the early part of 2004, Taiwo made his senior team debut on November 17, 2004, beginning a match in a 2-1 loss to South Africa.

Taiwo was selected for the Nigerian team in January 2006 in preparation for the African Cup of Nations in Egypt. By scoring the opening goal of the competition for his country’s team in a 1-0 victory over Ghana, he had a strong start to the competition. The following two games were won with his assistance, and Nigeria advanced to the knockout round.

Taiwo played the whole game against Tunisia in the quarter–final, which led to penalty shootout following a 1–1 draw, and successfully converted the penalty, as Nigeria won 6–5 in the shootout. He later helped the national side finish third place in the tournament after beating Senegal 1–0 in the third-place play–off.

When Taiwo scored his second goal for Nigeria’s national team in a 3-1 victory against Niger to advance to the African Cup of Nations a year later on June 17, 2007, he then played a crucial part in the nation’s success. Then, on November 19, 2007, in a 1-0 victory over Switzerland, Taiwo netted his third goal for Nigeria. He was selected for the national team roster for the competition in December 2007. The following month, Taiwo finally made it to the 23-man team. Then, when Nigeria lost 2-1 to Ghana in the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations, he started each of the four games.

In the World Cup Qualifying Round from June 1 to September 1, 2008, Taiwo preserved six straight clean sheets for Nigeria after the Africa Cup of Nations. He was, however, dismissed for a second bookable offense on February 11, 2009, in a 0-0 tie with Jamaica. After Nigeria defeated Kenya 3-2 on November 14, 2009, Taiwo later assisted Nigeria in advancing to the FIFA World Cup.

Taiwo was selected for the Nigeria team in January 2010 when he was called up to the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations. In a 3-1 defeat to Egypt on Matchday 1 of Group Stage on January 12, 2010, Taiwo played the entire game. In Nigeria’s subsequent four games, Elderson Echiéjilé was preferred as the left-back, hence he stayed on the substitutes’ bench. It wasn’t until the third-place play-off match against Algeria on January 30, 2010, that Taiwo was reinstated to the starting lineup and guided his country’s squad to a 1-0 victory and a bronze medal.

Taiwo was one of the final forty-four players chosen for the Nigerian team in April 2010 in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Eventually, once Manager Lars Lagerbäck reduced the roster to 23, he was chosen to be in the World Cup squad. On June 12, 2010, Taiwo faced Argentina in his World Cup debut. He started the game, but in the 74th minute, he suffered an injury and had to be replaced. He played against Greece for 55 minutes before being replaced as the national team fell 2-1. He immediately recovered from his injury following surgery and returned to the starting lineup.

After that, Taiwo had another injury and was unable to play against South Korea, which led to a 2-2 draw and Nigeria’s elimination.

As Nigeria was eliminated in the qualifying round for the African Cup of Nations after the World Cup, Taiwo appeared four times in that competition. He participated in 53 matches and scored 5 goals for the national team between 2004 and 2012. Manager Stephen Keshi, who hasn’t played for Nigeria since 2012, said about Taiwo in 2012: “I’m still working on my list but Taiwo, like other players, is under consideration.”

Taye Taiwo, wife and children


After leaving ROPS on July 3, 2020, Taiwo joined with the Cypriot First Division team Doxa Katokopias. Taiwo joined American side Palm Beach Stars in the United Premier Soccer League on October 22, 2020, however he failed to make a single appearance for the team.

As a member of third division club Salon Palloilijat in December 2021, Taiwo made his third visit to Finland. Taiwo was let go in June 2022 after making just eight appearances for the club in all competitions.


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