Football, Sport

Top 7 players of Nigerian descent going to Qatar 2022

Top 7 players of Nigerian descent going to Qatar 2022

Nigeria will not be represented in the Qatar 2022 World Cup as the Super Eagles were knocked out by arch-rivals, the Black Stars of Ghana, in the qualifiers.

But there are players of Nigerian descent going to Qatar 2022 that will be wearing the colours of other countries in the biggest football showpiece.

It’s sad for Nigeria, but Nigerians should take solace in the fact that they will watch their brothers in the diaspora doing all they can to win the most coveted football trophy in the tournament. Seven players of Nigerian descent have been selected to represent various countries in Qatar. They are the following:

7 players of Nigerian descent going to Qatar

Bukayo Saka – England

Bukayo Saka - England

Bukayo Ayoyinka Saka is an English professional footballer of Nigerian descent. Saka was born in Ealing, Greater London, the youngest of two children. His parents, Adenike and Yomi Saka, are Yoruba. Saka is a winger for Premier League club Arsenal, who currently enjoy the top of the English topflight.

The 21-year-old was on the radar of the Nigerian Football Federation due to his fantastic display at Arsenal until England boss, Gareth Southgate, announced his selection in the Three Lions squad ahead of Euro 2020. The news shocked and infuriated Nigerians because Saka received the call-up on October 1, Nigeria’s independence Day celebration.

Since his debut for England, Saka has netted four times, helping the Three Lions qualify for the 2022 World Cup. He is currently part of the squad representing England during the Mundial in Qatar.

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Manuel Akanji – Switzerland

Manuel Akanji - Switzerland

Manuel Akanji is a 27-year-old Manchester City defender of Nigerian descent. Akanji was born in Neftenbach, Switzerland, to a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother.

The former Borrusia Dortmund player will represent Switzerland for the second time, having made his World Cup debut for the Red Crosses four years ago in Russia. He has been capped 27 times. Like Saka, Akanji was touted to represent Nigeria but chose to pitch his tent in the country of his birth.

Noah Okafor – Switzerland

Noah Okafor - Switzerland

The Swiss national team has another Nigerian player that will play in Qatar 2022. His name is Noah Arinzechukwu Okafor, and he plays as a midfielder for the Austrian Bundesliga club, Red Bull Salzburg. Okafor was born on May 24, 2000. His father is Igbo, while his mother is Swiss.

Okafor played in the Swiss Youth team before making his senior national team debut in the 2019 UEFA Nations League third-place game against England. He scored his first international goal for Switzerland on November 15, 2021, during the World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria. His goal was what sealed the ticket for Switzerland for Qatar 2022. He will be making his World Cup debut in Swiss colours in Qatar.

Jamal Musiala – Germany

Jamal Musiala – Germany

Jamal Musiala is a German professional footballer of Nigerian descent who plays as a midfielder or winger for the Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. He was born on February 26, 2003, in Germany, to a Nigerian father and a German mother but was raised in England from the age of seven. His mother also has Polish roots.

Musiala was eligible to play for Nigeria and represented England at the youth level, particularly the U-21 squad. At the time, Musiala revealed he felt more comfortable with the English team than the German team because he grew up as a footballer at Chelsea with other English footballers. Initially, the German football association stopped pursuing him and wished him well.

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But on February 24, 2021, Musiala announced that he would represent Germany for all his senior international matches. Subsequently, he received his first Germany senior team call-up in March 2022, where he made his debut against Iceland in the World Cup qualifiers. He also became the youngest German player to feature in a major tournament in a 2–2 draw with Hungary in Euro 2020 at 18. Musiala will play in the World Cup tournament for the first time as he has been called to represent Germany in Qatar.

Karim Adeyemi – Germany

Karim Adeyemi – Germany

Karim-David Adeyemi is another German professional footballer of Nigerian descent who will be in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. He plays as a forward for the Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. Adeyemi was born on January 18, 2002, in Munich, Germany. His father, who reportedly moved to Germany in the 1990s to pursue a football career, is a Nigerian, while his mother is Romanian.

Adeyemi represented the Germany under-16s, under-17s and under-21s and made his Germany senior team debut in a 6–0 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification win over Armenia on September 5, 2021. During this period, he was a Red Bull Salzburg player, and his debut for Germany marked the first time in the post-war period that a player from an Austrian club played a match for the German senior national team.

Like Musiala, Adeyemi has been selected to represent Germany for Qatar 2022 and will make his World Cup debut in the Mundial.

Ike Ugbo – Canada

Ike Ugbo – Canada

Iké Dominique Ugbo plays for Ligue 1 team Troyes. He was born on September 21, 1998, in Lewisham, Greater London, to Nigerian parents. His family moved to Canada when Ike was four or five. However, he returned to the United Kingdom to join the Chelsea Academy at the under-10 level, where he won the UEFA Youth League with the Blues in 2014–15 and 2015–16.

Ugbo was eligible to represent England, Canada and Nigeria. He represented England at under-17 and under-20 levels and helped his side win the  2017 Toulon Tournament by converting a penalty kick during a shootout against Ivory Coast in the finals. In September 2021, Ike announced that he had decided to change his international allegiance to Nigeria. But two months later, he switched to Canada. He was called up to the team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against Costa Rica and Mexico.

Ugbo has been named in the squad representing Canada in the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Samuel Adekugbe – Canada

Samuel Adekugbe – Canada

Samuel Ayomide Adekugbe is another player of Nigerian descent that will represent Canada in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Born on January 16, 1995, in London to Nigerian parents, Adekugbe was raised in Canada from the age of 10.

Adekugbe was eligible to represent England, Nigeria or Canada. He initially expressed his desire to represent England but committed his future to Canada. After representing the North Americans at the youth level, he received his first senior team call-up for two friendlies against Mauritania in September 2013, though he didn’t play in the matches. Instead, he made his debut two years later in Canada’s game against Belize.

Adekugbe scored his first goal for Canada in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the United States on January 30, 2022. He has been named alongside Ugbo in team Canada to play in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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Nonye is a Thespian, screenwriter, creative writer and an unapologetic lover of books, great movies and sports. She has over 10 years experience in content writing on entertainment, movies, sports and lifestyle. Nonye is currently a content writer at Blackdot Media and founder of litafrik.com

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