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From Ameobi to Moses: Players who left foreign countries for Nigeria

22:32 SAST 2022/02/10
Aluko, Moses, Ameobi
With the winger switching international allegiance to Nigeria from England, GOAL looks at Super Eagles players who had also taken this bold step in the past.

  • Ademola Lookman

    Fifa approves Lookman's Nigeria switch

    Leicester City winger Ademola Lookman is now eligible to represent the Super Eagles at senior level after Fifa granted his request to play for the three-time African champions.

    Born in London, the forward was qualified to represent Nigeria through his parents.

    The RB Leipzig loanee played for England at U19, U20 and U21 levels. Notably, he was part of the European team’s squad that won the 2017 Fifa U20 World Cup staged in South Korea.

    He could make his Super Eagles debut when Augustine Eguavoen’s men square up against Ghana in next month’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification play-off.

  • Shola Ameobi

    Shola Ameobi

    The striker is one of the few Nigerians who have represented the Super Eagles despite playing for a foreign country at youth level.

    Born in Zaria, Northern Nigeria, he moved with his parents when he was five years old.

    There, he represented England at U20 level between 2000 and 2003. However, he was spotted by the Nigeria national team selectors thanks to his impressive performances with Newcastle United – where he formed a strong partnership with Alan Shearer.

    Having waited in vain to get a call up to the Three Lions squad, he opted to represent the West Africans in 2011.

    And in 2013, he made his competitive debut against Malawi in a World Cup qualification match – replacing Emmanuel Emenike with nine minutes left on the clock.

    He made Stephen Keshi’s squad to the global football showpiece hosted by Brazil in 2014.

  • Sone Aluko

    Sone Aluko

    Born in Hounslow, England to Nigerian parents, Aluko was a consistent figure at English international youth level, playing for the Three Lions at the U16, U17, U18, U19 levels.

    Following his inability to make the European country’s cut for the 2008 Uefa European Football Championship, he opted to switch allegiance to the African nations.

    Aluko was named in Samson Siasia’s squad to the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Egypt – playing against Venezuela, Spain and Tahiti.

    The former Hull City and Reading player went ahead to play for the senior national team before fading out of the international scene.

  • Victor Moses

    Victor Moses

    The former Chelsea star was part of the Nigeria squad that ruled Africa during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa.

    Prior to that time, he had represented England at U16, U17, U19 and U21 levels.

    Moses was not called up to the English senior team and that prompted him to consider Nigeria’s call-up in March 2011 for the fixtures against Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Before announcing his international retirement in 2018, the Premier League winner featured at the 2014 (Brazil) and 2018 (Russia) World Cups.

  • Iwobi, Iheanacho

    Alex Iwobi

    Iwobi showed promise while playing for England at various youth levels.

    Notwithstanding his prospect of featuring for the Three Lions at senior level, the former Arsenal man opted to pitch his tent with the Nigeria national team at senior level in 2015.

    The 2016 Caf Youth Player of the Year winner made his bow for the Super Eagles on 8 October, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2–0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Belgium.

    In his seven years of international football with the three-time African kings, Iwobi boasts 55 caps – which included participation at two Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

  • William Troost-Ekong

    William Troost-Ekong

    Born to a Nigerian father and a Dutch mother in the Netherlands, the tough as nails defender decided to serve his father's land in 2015 despite playing for the Dutch U19 and U23 teams.

    He made his Nigeria debut against Chad in 2015 and became the 26th player to win a 50th cap for the Super Eagles in a World Cup qualifier against Liberia in September 2020.

    Troost-Ekong has played at the Olympics, World Cup and two Africa Cup of Nations in the last seven years for the West African country.

  • Kevin Akpoguma - Hoffenheim

    Kevin Akpoguma

    This piece will be incomplete without the mention of Hoffenheim centre-back Akpoguma.

    Born to a German mother and a Nigerian father, the 26-year featured prominently for Germany at youth levels.

    Before captaining the Europeans at the 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup in New Zealand, Akpoguma had played for Germany at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 levels.

    In September 2020, he switched international allegiance to Nigeria before making his debut in a friendly defeat to Algeria on October 9 in the same year.

  • Ola Aina.

    Ola Aina

    The wing-back – who helped Chelsea win two Uefa Youth Leagues – was called up to play for Nigeria for the first time in 2017.

    Before then, Aina had worn England’s jersey at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 levels between 2011-2016.

    The Torino star boasts an Africa Cup of Nations bronze medal – achieved in Egypt 2019  - to show for his decision to leave the Europeans for the African side.

    Aina played a crucial role in the 2021 Afcon where Augustine Eguavoen’s men crashed out of the Round of 16 following defeat to Tunisia in Garoua.