Football is played at both club and international levels. A player can switch clubs at any time so long as his transfer requirements are met. However, it’s different at the international level. Players can only represent countries where they have a nationality. Dual nationals have the options to choose between two countries and once the player has represented a particular country for several games, he can’t switch anymore.
Some Nigerian footballers have dual nationality. That means that they can play for Nigeria or the other country that they are from. Many have chosen to represent Nigeria while the rest choose otherwise. Here are 6 Nigerian players playing for other countries;
1. Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham currently plays for Chelsea football club as a striker with the number 9 jersey. This talented player is eligible to play for Nigeria as his father is Nigerian but, he chooses to play for England – the country where he grew up in.
Abraham was rumored to play for Nigeria when it was time to make his senior international debut. The NFF president even announced that the striker has chosen Nigeria. However, Abraham denied the rumor saying he had no intention to play for Nigeria but England.
Tammy Abraham played for the 3 lions at the youth level so it’s not surprising that he picked them at the senior level. Since he started playing for England in 2017, he’s only managed to play 6 matches in which he has scored just one goal. His club records are more impressive.
2. Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley is another Chelsea player but he currently plays for Aston Villa on loan. He is also a Chelse player. Ross was born in Liverpool to a Nigerian father. His father’s name is Effanga but, the attacking midfielder picked his mother’s maiden name instead.
There was never any link between Ross Barkley and Nigeria in international football. The player has always represented England beginning from u-16 to u-17, u-19, u-20, u-21, and he is currently in the senior team. He was called up to the English national team in 2013.
Ross Barkley has won multiple honors with his club Chelsea including an FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. However, he’s not achieved so much with the national team since 2013 as he’s only managed 3rd place honors at the UEFA Nations League. Nevertheless, he’s got several individual honors.
3. Dele Alli
Dele Alli is a Tottenham Hotspur midfielder and at the international level, he plays for the English National Team. The player has dual citizenship as his father is Yoruba and from Nigeria while his mother is from England. Like most players on this list, he chose to play for the three lions.
Dele Alli once lived in Nigeria when he was 9; he also schooled in the country. He went back to England after two years. The player was called to represent England in 2015 and up till that time, there wasn’t much of a buzz about his nationality aside from his name.
Since playing for England, Dele Alli has managed to achieve as much as Ross Barkley – UEFA Nations League third-place position. With his club, he was a UEFA Champions League finalist in 2019 where they finished as runners-up. Notably, the player has about 9 individual honors.
4. David Alaba
This is one of the most decorated Nigerian players playing for other countries. David Alaba is a Bayern Munich player and plays as a center or left-back but sometimes in the central midfield position. Instead of the Super Eagles, the player chooses to play for the Austrian National Team.
David Alaba’s father is Yoruba and from Nigeria. His father is a prince in Ogere, Ogun State but unfortunately, the player has never had any ties with Nigeria at the international football level. He began playing for the Austrian National team far back in 2009 and has even captained the team on some occasions.
Alaba hasn’t won any trophy with the Austrian Team; he’s only managed a number of individual honors. However, at the club level, he’s won almost everything including the German league, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup. He’s won all more than once.
5. Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka is the most recent player on this list to pick a different country instead of Nigeria. At just 19 years, the player has made the English national team and he also plays for Arsenal Football Club. He plays as a winger and as a left-back in some matches.
Saka has represented England in all under levels. Many Nigerian football fans were disappointed when he picked the English senior team in 2020. The talented youngster cannot represent Nigeria at the international level because he’s started for England on up to 4 occasions.
Bukayo Saka is still a very young player so he hasn’t achieved much. Nevertheless, he’s won the FA Cup with Arsenal and also the FA Community Shield. In 2019, he was part of the Arsenal squad that finished as runners-up at the UEFA Europa League.
6. Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori is the third Chelsea player on this list. However, he’s currently on loan to AC Milan in Italy. The center back was born in Canada but, he currently plays for the English National Team.
Tomori did play for Canada but that was at the youth level. He also played for England at the youth level and since his parents are from Nigeria, he eligible to play for the country as well. However, the player chooses England amongst all when he was called in 2019.
Tomori won the FIFA World Cup with England at the under 20 levels but, he’s not won anything yet with the senior team.
The players listed in this article are active players of Nigerian descent who instead choose to play for other countries. Despite the fact that they don’t represent the Green White Green flag on the international stage, Nigerian football fans are still proud of their achievements, especially at the club level.