Opiyo Taiwo Leo Awuonda (born 6 August 1985 in Brixton) is an English-born Kenya international footballer, who is currently a free agent after being released from League Two side Stevenage.
He previously played in the Football League for Walsall, Rochdale, Chester City and Darlington, and in the USL First Division for the Puerto Rico Islanders and Rochester Rhinos. He first appeared for the Kenya national team in June 2009.
Born Opiyo Taiwo Leo Awuonda, Taiwo is the son of Moussa Awuonda, a former Nation Newspapers correspondent, and Bridget Mary Glaisher, and he began his football career at the age of 15 with Walsall F.C.. After graduating from the club’s youth system, during which time he spent a month with Southern League Premier Division club Nuneaton Borough on work experience, Atieno signed professional contract forms in July 2004 under then manager Paul Merson.
He had loan spells at Rochdale, Chester City, Kidderminster Harriers, and Darlington. Atieno was released by the club at the end of the 2005–06 season following their relegation from League One.
He played three games for Dagenham & Redbridge before signing for Conference National club Tamworth in August 2006. Atieno scored 12 league goals, though these were not enough to keep Tamworth from relegation to the Conference North in April 2007.
Atieno left Tamworth after the 2006–07 season, moving to the United States to join USL First Division team Puerto Rico Islanders.
Signing in July, Atieno started his spell well, scoring 7 goals in 12 games. The Islanders surpassed expectations reaching the semi finals of the USL playoffs. Atieno providing 2 goals against an experienced Montreal Impact side. In the 2008 campaign, Atieno scored a historic goal advancing Puerto Rico Islanders to CONCACAF Champions League group stages. Islanders overcame a 2–1 deficit to knock out the Primera División de Costa Rica L.D. Alajuelense. L.D. Alajuelense was the first Costa Rican team to win a CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in 1986.
In March 2009, Atieno joined Rochester Rhinos of the USL First Division; he had been traded to Charleston Battery during the off-season, but had not played for them.
He moved back to England with Conference National team Luton Town in March 2010 on a short-term contract, but left in July. After training with top South African club Supersport United during the English summer, he rejoined Luton on 2 September 2010 on a contract until January 2011 after no deal with the South Africans was forthcoming. Atieno scored his first goal for Luton against Bath City on 30 October. This was then followed up with two goals in a 4–2 FA Cup First Round replay victory over Corby Town on 17 November. Atieno’s goal-scoring form continued into January where he followed up a brace of goals in the FA Trophy against Uxbridge with the final goal (his seventh of the season in all competitions) in Luton’s 5–0 home win over York City on 18 January 2011. Despite this goalscoring run, Luton opted not to extend Atieno’s contract. He was released on 31 January.
On 11 February 2011, Atieno signed for League Two side Stevenage, and made his debut the next day, starting in their 1–0 away loss at Shrewsbury Town. It was to be Atieno’s only appearance during Stevenage’s 2010–11 campaign, and he was released by the club in May 2011 when his contract expired.
In January 2009 Atieno declared his desire to play for the Kenya national football team, telling a reporter for the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation “It has been my dream to play for Kenya since I was 13”. After Kenya’s immigration minister stated that Atieno had to renounce his British citizenship before he could be granted a Kenyan passport, this seemed unlikely. Though reports the following day suggested he had received his passport and could play in the World Cup qualifier against Tunisia, this appeared not to have been the case. He made his debut as a late substitute in the June 2009 qualifier against Mozambique, played the whole of a friendly defeat in Bahrain, was again a substitute in the second qualifier against Mozambique, and played 46 minutes in the 1–0 qualifying loss to Tunisia
On the 5th of July 2011, it was announced that Taiwo would be on a two week trial with League 2 Torquay United, and reported for their pre-season training.