Sunday, May 19, 2024

Footballers with Dual Nationalities Eligible for the Nigerian National Team

Nigeria is blessed with some of the most talented footballers both home and abroad. In this report, let’s takes a look at some Nigerians with dual nationalities, who could dump their countries of birth for Nigeria, the country of their parents.

Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)

Eberechi Oluchi Eze is  an English-Nigerian midfielder with Premier League club Crystal Palace.

Eze made his debut for England’s U-20 team in 2018 and also captained the side at the 2019 Toulon Tournament, making seven appearances for the side.

In 2019, Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick met with Eze to try to persuade him to switch his allegiance to Nigeria.

As at the time, Eze, who was with Championship side QPR, said he was undecided on which country to represent.

In May 2021, Eze was called up to the senior England squad for the first time, as part of Gareth Southgate’s 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2020, but on the same day was injured during a training session.

But he’s been ignored by Southgate ever since, which could spell good news for the Eagles.

The creative midfielder broke through as a winger and, to begin with, largely played on the left for QPR, but the fact he was handed the No.10 shirt only a few months after making his first-team debut gave an indication as to where he believes his future lies. He impressed as a creative, dynamic number 10 for QPR, floating across the front line and into deeper positions and knitting together his team’s moves with clever movements and deft touches.

Destiny Udogie (Tottenham)

Fast-improving defender Udogie was born in Italy to Nigerian parents and made his debut with Italy’s U-16 squad in 2018, and has gone on to represent the Italians at U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-21 levels.

The 19-year-old has reiterated his desire to play for the Azzurris, ahead of Nigeria. But having been snubbed by Italy for the ongoing UEFA Nations League, despite his impressive form, analysts feel the wing-back might make a U-turn and switch to Nigeria at senior level.

A pure left-footed player blessed with a rasping shot and devastating crossing ability, Udogie also has quite a remarkable physical profile for someone of his age.

With great pace, dribbling and passing abilities, as well as his offensive play, a reversal of his decision could help solve the Eagles’ problematic left-back position.

Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)

The teenager made his Premier League debut against Brentford, becoming the youngest ever Arsenal player, and the youngest player, at 15 years, five months and 28 days, to appear in the English topflight, when he debuted against Brentford Sept 18.

Nwaneri began the 2022/23 season playing for Arsenal’s U-18 team, but because he was in such good form, he was quickly moved up to play for Arsenal’s U-21 side.

The midfielder can operate as a No.10 but can play in every attacking position, with an innate capacity to receive and dribble with the ball at his feet. He is also comfortable in both wide and central roles.

With the youngster yet to file out for England at any level, there is still a chance he can represent Nigeria at youth categories, if he makes the mark, and go on to senior level.

Michael Folorunsho (Helas verona)

Folorunsho is a 24-year-old Italian footballer of Nigerian descent who plays for Serie B club verona on loan from Napoli

Folorunsho has scored two Serie B goals this season, making him the club’s third-top league scorer.

He has been described as a player who can play in all midfield and attacking roles and whose best qualities are speed, physicality and technique.

Jonas David (Hansa Rostock)

David, born March 8, 2000, has a Nigerian father and German mother, and plays as a centre-back for Bundesliga side hansa rostock.

David began playing football in the youth department of Meiendorfer SV, before moving to the youth system of Eintracht Norderstedt in 2013.

In 2018, David indicated interest in playing for Nigeria.

He was reportedly blocked by Hamburger from honouring an invitation to the Flying Eagles.

He already has a promising future ahead of him, having played competitive matches for Germany during the 2019 European U-19 Championship qualifiers as well as featuring at U-20 level.

Noah Ohio (Hull city)

Striker Ohio was born in the Netherlands to Nigerian parents, and moved to England at a young age. He is thus eligible to play for Nigeria, England and the Netherlands at international level. He has, however, represented the Netherlands and England at youth levels.

Despite having played for both England and Netherlands youth teams, his loyalties lie with the latter.

The young forward once walked out on Manchester United to join bitter rivals Manchester City and then turned down a contract on the Blue side of town to sign for RB Leipzig.

Will he also turn down the English and Dutch sides for Nigeria at senior level?

Michael Olise (Crystal Palace)

Olise, was born in England to a Nigerian father and French-Algerian mother and is eligible to represent either France, Algeria, England or Nigeria internationally.

He was called up to the France U-18 side for the 2019 Toulon Tournament and made his debut in 2019, against Qatar U23.

In March 2021, Olise was named as a standby for the Nigeria squad in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho.

Chuba Akpom – Ajax

With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Lorient’s Terem Moffi, the Super Eagles have no shortage of quality strikers.

KRC Genk’s Paul Onuachu and Cremonese’s Cyriel Dessers are worthy backup options but Middlesbrough’s Chuba Akpom could give those two a run for their money following his recent excellent run.

The 27-year-old was the joint-top scorer in the Championship with 12 goals and his ability to function as an attacking midfielder and second striker could appeal to the super eagles.

Samuel Ikechukwu Edozie – Southampton 

One of the most highly-rated teenagers in England, Sam Edozie left Manchester City for Southampton in September 2023.

The 19-year-old playmaker has already made twenty eight appearances for the Saints to much acclaim.

Edozie is adept as a left winger and could be a perfect understudy for Nantes’ Moses Simon and Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman on that flank for the Eagles.

Caleb Okoli – Atalanta

While on loan from Atalanta, Okoli proved his mettle last season when he led Cremonese to gain promotion to the Italian Serie A.

The 21-year-old centre-back has returned to Atalanta where he has become a consistent feature for the Goddess in the Italian Serie A.

Italy could move to tempt the Vicenza-born defender to play for the four-time world champions in the coming years.

But an early move in 2024 by the Nigeria Football Federation could see the youngster commit his international future to the three-time African champions.

Jordan Torunarigha – Gent 

Torunarigha is the son of former Nigerian footballer Ojokojo Torunarigha, but the Hertha Berlin-raised defender has never hidden his desire to play for the German national team.

The accomplished centre-back even turned down the chance to play for Nigeria a few years ago.

But Germany overlooked Jordan Torunarigha when putting together their squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, despite his brilliance for Gent all year long.

Now aged 25, Jordan has reportedly switched to the Super Eagles

Tosin Adarabioyo – Fulham 

With Kenneth Omeruo, and William Troost-Ekong  around or above 30, the Super Eagles’ defence is increasingly looking to need a major revamp.

Fulham centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo is another who could come in to replace the old guards.

Adarabioyo has Premier League and Championship experience, and recent moves by NFF Technical Director Austin Eguavoen suggest it could be only a matter of time before we see the 26-year-old in the green and white colours of Nigeria.

Carney Chukwuemeka – Chelsea

One thing the Super Eagles are in short supply of is a top-notch attacking midfielder to understudy Alex Iwobi.

They do not come better than Carney Chukwuemeka, the Austria-born teenager who inspired England to win the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2022.

Chukwuemeka switched from Aston Villa to Chelsea last summer and has already made three Premier League appearances for the Blues.

Convincing him to play for the Super Eagles could be the biggest international allegiance switch the NFF pulled since Victor Moses snubbed the Three Lions for Nigeria.

Joshua Zirkzee (Bologna)

Zirkzee was born in the Netherlands to a Nigerian father and plays as a forward for Serie A club, Bologna

He’s played for the  Netherlands at youth levels.

Zirkzee left the Feyenoord academy in 2021 to join the youth set-up of Bayern Munich.

He then moved to Italian side Parma in January 2021 on a loan deal. He also played for Anderlecht on loan before a move to Serie A club Bologna on a permanent deal in August.

Hamdi Akujobi (Almere City)

ALMERE, 08-07-2022 , Yanmar stadium , season 2022 / 2023, Presentatie. Almere City FC player Hamdi Akujobi

Born January 12, 2000 in the Netherlands, Akujobi, who has a Nigerian father, was called up for the preliminary Flying Eagles squad for the 2019 U-20 World Cup.

In 2019, Akujobi signed his first professional contract with SC Heerenveen for three years, before joining Eerste Divisie club Almere City in July, signing a two-year contract with an option for an additional year.

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