News Matches
Premier League

Gakpo explains why he wore Togo kit, but why he didn't play for them

22:13 SAST 2023/01/01
Cody Gakpo, Emmanuel Edebayor.
Could new Liverpool signing Cody Gakpo have been playing for Togo had the country made a greater effort to lure him from the Netherlands?
  • Gakpo has explained how his love for Togo saw him don their shirts as a youngster
  • The forward chose Netherlands after no concrete offers from the Sparrow Hawks
  • 23-year-old signed for Liverpool after a great campaign with PSV

WHAT HAPPENED? Gakpo has revealed how he used to wear some of his dad’s Togo shirts while watching the country’s matches, which he still follows to date.

The Netherlands international was born in Eindhoven to a Togolese father of Ghanaian ancestry and a Dutch mother, and was eligible to represent the Netherlands, Togo and Ghana but chose the European country.

However, his love for the West African nation is still intact and could have been turning out for the Sparrow Hawks had the country’s federation made a concrete approach.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “I don't follow the news in Togo closely. My father does,” the attacker told Voetbal.

“Where he first watched everything on television, he now follows the news and various other programmes on Togolese television via the internet.

“I only watch the matches of the national team with my father. He has several shirts from the national team, but he does not wear them during the matches. I regularly wore one of his shirts when I played football on the square in our neighbourhood as a child.

“Personally, I have not had any contact [from Togo]. My choice for the Netherlands was not difficult. [His agent] Kees [Ploegsma Jr] made this known honestly and we have not heard anything since. Unfortunately, I don't speak the language."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Gakpo has emerged as one of the world’s leading forwards, having scored 55 goals in 159 games for PSV Eindhoven before sealing his move to Liverpool last month for over €40 million.

More than half of those goals have been scored in the last one-and-a-half seasons, netting 21 last season and 13 in 2022-23, while he is also good at creating them, given he has 12 assists so far this campaign.

The 23-year-old, who can play on the wing and at centre-forward, was heavily linked with a transfer to Manchester United before Liverpool pounced, and joined the Reds on the back of a brilliant World Cup for the Netherlands after scoring three goals for his country in Qatar.

WHAT’S MORE? Gakpo also lauded the impact of former Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor on Togolese football, while expressing a desire to visit the country in the near future.

“Emmanuel Adebayor is extremely popular,” he added. “He was also there in 2006, the only time Togo reached the World Cup. A new star? I do not know. The other guys in the team are of course of a completely different calibre.”

“My older brother has been [to Togo], my younger brother. Just not me yet. A visit to Togo is still very high on my bucket list.”

WHAT’S NEXT? Having completed the formalities of his transfer, Gakpo could be part of Liverpool’s squad for their Premier League match away to Brentford on Monday.