The two African football heavyweights have taken their rivalry off the pitch and unto the heart of one of the game’s most gifted young talents
Reading midfielder Michael Akpovie Olise has a tough decision to make on which country to represent at the international level after Algeria emerged as the latest admirers of the English-born ace of Nigerian descent.
Interests in Olise skyrocketed this year after the 20-year-old delivered one stunning performance after another for Reading with relative ease in the EFL Championship.
The attacking midfielder ended the 2020/21 campaign with seven goals and 12 assists in 46 games as the Royals missed the promotion playoffs by the whiskers.
Olise’s brilliance has been rewarded as he was named the Championship Young Player of the Season and in the Team of the Season. The youngster also went home with Reading’s EA Sports Young Player of the Season award.
While major Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Chelsea, are rumoured to be interested in signing Olise, at least three countries are also grappling to secure his allegiance at the international level.
Born in England to a Nigerian father and a French-Algerian mother, Olise is still eligible to play for any of the other three nations, despite playing in the Toulon tournament with the French youth team in 2019.
The youngster is a long-time target of the Nigeria Football Federation, and he was on the expanded list of players invited for the Super Eagles’ Afcon qualifiers in March, but he didn’t make the final roster.
Algeria are equally keen on adding the youngster to their national team. And as per Fennec Football, the Algeria FA recently sent representatives to visit Olise in England to convince him to play for the reigning African champions.
The Reading star is yet to make a final decision, but a possible appearance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is likely to be crucial in any decision the young midfielder makes.