6 Top Footballers in Europe who snubbed the Super Eagles
Nigeria was unfortunate not to make the recently concluded World Cup, losing their place to Ghana.
It would have an epic display for the ferocious likes of Victor Osihmen, Emmanuel Dennis, and Alex Iwobi. Should Nigeria have made the tournament, many would have staked on decentralized sports betting platforms like Bookmaker.xyz for Nigeria to reach the Round of 16.
While Nigeria as a nation didn’t make it, some Nigerians played at the world cup –albeit for other countries. Yes, these players, unfortunately, turned down the opportunity to play for Nigeria.
They had Nigerian ancestry but chose to represent other nations. This article discusses some of the hottest footballers in Europe who snubbed the Super Eagles.
1. Bukayo Saka
One of the hottest prospects that the super eagles missed out on is Bukayo Saka. He plays for Arsenal Football and the England National Team. Saka was born in Ealing, UK, to Nigerian parents.
Bukayo is a striker who can play all positions in the attack. He possesses excellent dribbling skills and scoring abilities, making him one of the most feared youngsters in the world. He was Arsenal’s player of the year for the 2021-22 season.
The 21-year-old came through the Arsenals youth system and played for England youth teams. Saka broke into the club’s first team in the 2019-20 season, and he’s been on an upward spiral.
He’s an integral part of Gunner’s team and has 21 goals in 111 appearances.
Internationally, Saka was eligible to play for Nigeria but didn’t think twice when the three Lions called in 2022. He’s made 24 appearances and scored seven goals for England. Saka scored three times in four games at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
2. Manuel Akanji
Manual Akanji is a talented professional footballer born to a Nigerian father and a Switzerland mother.
He plies his trade at Manchester City FC, having joined them in the summer, and is one of the club’s standout players. Akanji is a powerful defender who possesses near-perfect technical abilities.
He represented Switzerland (his country of birth) at the youth and senior levels. Having made nearly 47 appearances and represented Switzerland at prominent tournaments, including the 2018 and 2022 FIFA world cups, he’s ineligible to play for Nigeria.
Akanji played through the youth ranks at Weisendangen and FC Winterthur. He moved to Basel in April 2015 and won a couple of Swish championships before leaving for Borussia Dortmund. Akanji moved to Manchester City after his stint at Borussia Dortmund.
3. Dele Ali
Dele Alli was born in England to a Nigerian father and an English mother. He was a hot prospect when he moved to Tottenham from MK Dons.
Dele won the PFA Player of the Year and made the PFA Team of the Year in his first two seasons. He currently plays for Besiktas, on loan from Everton.
He was eligible to play for the Super Eagles through his father. However, the three Lions were quick to snap one of the best young midfielders of his generation. He made 37 appearances for England and scored three goals before falling off the pecking order.
Since the 2019-20 season, his form has dipped significantly, and he’s still trying to become the player he once was. Ali is no more eligible to play for the Super Eagles based on FIFA legislation.
He last made an appearance for England in 2019.
4. David Alaba
David Alaba is unarguably one of the best defenders of this generation. He’s made over 500 appearances in his career and has won 31 team trophies. He played most of his career (so far) at Bayern Munchen but currently plays at Real Madrid. Alaba is one of Austria’s most successful players of all time.
His international tale could’ve been different if he’d played for his country of origin, Nigeria. Alaba was born to a Nigerian father and a Visyan mother. He’s represented his country of birth at youth levels and also at the senior level.
Alaba explained that he wanted to play for his country of origin, but the Nigerian Football Federation didn’t make any formal approach.
5. Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham is a Chelsea football academy graduate that plays for AS Roma. He has an English mother and a Nigerian father. His career has been successful, and he won the inaugural edition of the UEFA Europa Conference League in 2021/22.
Tammy played for England’s U-18, U-19, and U-21 levels before receiving his senior call-up. Before he received an invitation to the three Lions camp, the Nigerian Football Federation president, Amaju Pinick, said Abraham agreed to play for the Super Eagles. Tammy denied the claim after his call-up.
His international career hasn’t been what he dreamt of so far, as he’s only made 11 senior appearances since his debut in 2017. He is no more eligible to play for Nigeria.
6. Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori was born in Canada to Nigerian parents but moved to England when he was one year old. Therefore, he was eligible to represent Nigeria, Canada, and England. He did represent Canada at U-20 and England at U-19, U-20, and the senior team.
However, he never played internationally at any level for Nigeria despite the NFF showing interest. Fikayo plays his football at AC Milan in the Italian Serie A.
His first appearance for the three lions was against Kosovo in a Euro 2020 qualifier. He only made three appearances before falling out of Southgate’s plans.
Despite being an integral part of the team that won the Serie A last season, the coach ignored him for the squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Curated from: https://www.owngoalnigeria.com/2022/12/22/6-top-footballers-in-europe-who-snubbed-the-super-eagles/
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