Ahead of Super Eagles AFCON qualifiers match against Seychelles on Friday, we took time to check out current top players who should be donning the Super Eagles jersey but are currently doing so for other European countries.
Sidney Sam (Schalke 04/ Germany): Sidney Sam (born 31 January 1988) is a German professional footballer who plays as a forward or winger for Schalke 04. Sam is known for his explosive speed and dribbling style. Born to a German mother and Nigerian father, Sam would have been eligible to play for the Nigeria national team, but decided early on to represent his country of birth.
Sam was a German youth national player, starring in Germany’s under-19 and under-20 teams. On 29 May 2013, Sam made his senior international debut for Germany in a friendly game against Ecuador in Boca Raton, Florida. On 8 May 2014, Sam was named to the 30-man provisional squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by German national team manager, Joachim Löw.
Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham/ Italy): Ogbonna was born to Nigerian parents who emigrated to Italy from Nigeria in 1983, settling in the city of Cassino in the central part of the country, but managed to obtain Italian citizenship only after his 18th birthday.
Angelo Ogbonna who plays for West Ham during a press conference The 27 year old has 10 caps for Italy already.
Ross Barkley (Chelsea/ England): Rather surprising when you consider how English Barkley plays, looks and behaves. Barkley could have played for Nigeria as his paternal grandparents were actually from Nigeria but he did not give the country a thought as is seen in England as one of the future stars of the English national team.
Barkley was eligible to represent both England and Nigeria as he has a Nigerian grandfather. Barkley opted to represent his country of birth. He has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20, under-21 and senior level.
Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid/ France): French winger Thomas Lemar is one of the superstars that arose from Leonardo Jardim’s high-flying Monaco squad before making a move to Atletico Madrid.
The tricky, pacy winger has a Nigerian grandfather who played for the Super Eagles and was eligible to play for the country. That never materialised as he stuck to the French national team instead.
David Alaba (Bayern Munich/ Austria) : The most successful of the lot. Alaba is a huge miss for Nigeria. Alaba was born in Vienna to Gina and George Alaba and has one sister. His mother emigrated from the Philippines to work as a nurse, his Yoruba Nigerian father is a prince from Ogere who is also a rapper and works as a DJ. He is a Christian and a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
His middle name “Olatokunbo” means “Wealth from across the sea” or “Wealth from a foreign land” in the Yoruba language. The 23 year old is currently seen as the best left-back in the world. He has been named Austrian footballer of the year for the last four years. He wanted to play for Nigeria but a culmination of the NFF inability to see his potential and other issues sees Alaba a full fledged Austrian.
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspurs/ England): It’s sad to think about how magical it could have been to have one of the finest midfielders England have produced in recent times dictate the tempo of the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s midfield.
The Spurs midfielder who has been likened to England great Frank Lampard due to their style of play has a Nigerian father and was eligible to play for the Super Eagles at some point, not anymore.
Which of the players do you wish had represented Nigeria instead? Share your view on this in the comment session below… Thanks