The young Toronto FC star is eligible to play international football for Nigeria, the United States, and Canada, but he has finally decided for Les Rouges
Exciting forward Ayo Akinola will represent Canada at the 2021 Gold Cup competition after snubbing the United States men’s national team and Nigeria’s Super Eagles to pledge his international allegiance to the Reds.
Born in the United States to Nigerian parents but raised since age one in Canada, Akinola could have featured for any of these three countries internationally.
The Nigeria Football Federation contacted his mom during the U-17 World Cup in India to have him play for the African nation, but there was no denying where his heart was at the time.
The youngster was always bent towards playing for the USA, scoring loads of goals (a combined 36 goals in 42 games) for their u-15, u-17, and u-20 teams.
Akinola even made his international debut for the USMNT last year and scored as the Stars and Stripes thrashed El Salvador 6-0 in a friendly encounter.
But Canada have eventually won the race to his allegiance after they allowed him to train with them during their run to the final stage of World Cup qualifying.
Fast, strong, and intelligent, Akinola has the sort of unlearnable raw skills that could power Canada to an impressive outing at the 2021 Gold Cup, and it is a proposition that excites the 21-year-old.
“I’m really excited to represent Canada at the international level,” said Ayo Akinola in a statement issued by the Canadian football federation.
“It’s a very exciting time for the country with all the quality that’s on the roster. Canada has been my home for almost all my life and I’m excited to give back.
“I’m ready to give my best for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team in these crucial months coming up.”
Canada kick off their 2021 Gold Cup campaign against Martinique on July 11 at the Children’s Mercy Park Stadium in Kansas City, USA.
Les Rouges (the Reds) are two-time Concacaf champions, but they last lifted the trophy in 2000 with Mexico and the United States the two dominant forces on the continent.