The former Germany youth international has finally opened up to Soccernet.ng about why he turned down the opportunity to play for the country of his parents.
Jordan Torunarigha was a top young talent wanted by coach Gernot Rohr who offered him a place in the Nigeria squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Rohr was interested because the Super Eagles needed more top defensive talents to back their attacking surplus. But the young defender turned down the opportunity of a lifetime.
Rohr was disappointed. He could not believe that his interest in the youngster was rebuffed.
Jordan, born in Chemnitz, Germany, while his father Ojokojo played as a professional, preferred to continue his development in the German youth sides. Ojokojo had played for Shooting Stars before moving to Germany where Jordan was born.
A highly-rated defender, Jordan eventually played in the German Olympic team at the Tokyo Olympic Games. He left Hertha Berlin for Gent in the Belgian league last year after a season out on loan.
In a recent encounter, Torunarigha revealed to Soccernet.ng why he rejected Rohr’s overtures and his availability to play for Nigeria if they want him in future.
“It is difficult for me because my parents are from Nigeria, but I have never been to Nigeria,” Torunarigha revealed to Soccernet.ng. “I don’t know how the people are, I don’t know how the country looks like. And for me, it is a little bit difficult.”
Despite never visiting Nigeria, Jordan consumes Nigerian culture and said he listens to musicians Burna Boy, Asake and Wizkid. And he has a tattoo of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti on his arm.
“My dad only listened to Fela when he took his shower,” Torunarigha said. “I listen to his music. He’s a legend for all Nigerians.”
The 25-year-old hopes he can still give back to Nigeria when he finally visits the country of his parents.
“I always say that I didn’t become a professional for me alone. I want to help the people who don’t have so much,” he said.
Watch the full interview with Jordan Torunarigha below: