The Super Eagles of Nigeria won’t be at the Qatar 2022 World Cup and the Nigerian delegation was a notable absence on Friday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre in the Qatari capital.
While Nigerian music star, Davido thrilled the audience at the draw and Jayjay Okocha was one of the draw assistants, the cake itself was left behind while the cherry made a presence.
Nigeria will be represented regardless, although in another country, as we analyse the possible players of Nigerian ancestry that will be selected by their respective countries for the World Cup.
Group A – Arnaut Danjuma
We start with Group A where the Netherlands will face hosts Qatar, Senegal and Ecuador.
Villarreal forward, Arnaut Danjuma represents the Dutch national team and will most likely be paraded by the Oranje at the World Cup.
Danjuma was born in Lagos to a Dutch father and a Nigerian mother and has so far earned six caps with the Dutch national team.
Group B – Bukayo Ayoyinka Saka, Tammy Bakumo Abraham, Fikayo Damilola Tomori, George Bello
England have been drawn alongside the United States, Iran and a yet to be decided European team.
With Saka long touted by Nigeria now an established international with the Three Lions, he’s most definitely on course to booking a ticket to Qatar for his second major tournament with England.
The Arsenal star may be joined by AS Roma attacker, Tammy Abraham who is growing to become an attacking monster with AS Roma in the Serie A. Abraham may be considered a viable deputy for Harry Kane in the Three Lions squad.
An outside chance of gatecrashing the World Cup party may be reserved arguably England’s most impressive centre back at the moment, Fikayo Tomori. Tomori, like Abraham and Saka were also rumored to be touted by Nigeria but settled for the Three Lions.
The AC Milan defender will hope he convinces England manager, Gareth Southgate.
Other players with an outside, although almost impossible chance are Crystal Palace’s midfield pair of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise.
Both midfielders have been approached in the past by Nigeria but have so far rejected advances. Should they continue to impress with the Eagles, impossibility is nothing in football.
The United States team also have a Nigerian-born Arminia Bielefeld defender, George Bello.
George Bello was born in Abuja, the Nigerian capital and moved with his family to the US when he was just one year old.
He has an outside chance of being on the Yankees’ plane to Qatar alongside a host of other West Africans in the team including a Liberian and son of George Weah, and a player of Ghanaian heritage.
Group D – Phillip Anyanwu Billing
The Danes have been drawn with World champions France, Tunisia and yet to be decided team from the Intercontinental Playoffs.
Bournemouth star, Phillip Billing is back in the national fold and may be considered for the party to Qatar.
Billing was born in Denmark to a Danish mother and a Nigerian father and rejected advances in the past by Nigerian football authorities.
Group E – Jamal Musiala and Karim Adeyemi
Germany will face Spain, Japan and a yet to be decided team but will have tough choices to make in player selection.
Die Maanschaft manager, Hansi Flick has proven to be an admirer of Bayern youngster Jamal Musiala and has also given opportunities to Red Bull Salzburg star, Karim Adeyemi.
Musiala was born in Stuttgart, Germany to a German mother and a Nigerian father and was raised in England.
Adeyemi on his part was also born in Germany to a Romanian mother and a Nigerian father from Ibadan. He is the first German player based in Austria to represent the Die Maanschaft in the post war era.
Musiala has been a regular with the Germans as he participated in the Euros and is more assured of a place in the team.
Group F – Sam Ayomide Adekugbe, Ike Ugbo
In September 2021, Ike Ugbo agreed to represent the Nigerian national team but he soon switched gears and decided to play for the Canadians.
While he’s been a bit-part player for the team, he has a high chance of making it to the mundial.
The Genk attacker was born in the UK but moved to Canada with his family when he was four.
Adekugbe, like Ugbo was also born in the UK and moved to Canada when he was 10. The 27-year old Hatayspor left-back is expected to play a significant role in Canada’s first World Cup appearance in 36 years.
He scored against the US and Mexico during the qualifiers.
Group G – Manuel Obafemi Akanji and Noah Arinzechukwu Okafor
Unlike any other player of Nigerian ancestry so far mentioned, Akanji has played in the World Cup before with Switzerland.
The 26-year old Borussia Dortmund defender was born in Switzerland to a local mother and a Nigerian father.
He’ll most likely be joined by Red Bull Salzburg’s Okafor in Switzerland’s World Cup team.
Okafor, like Akanji was also born in Switzerland to a Nigerian father and Swiss mother.