In the evolving world of international football, the thought of young, skilled players switching national allegiances always piques fans’ interest.
For Nigerian football fans, the anticipation of bolstering the Super Eagles with fresh talent with roots in another country is both a blessing and a rue.
On the one hand, there is optimism that the rising talents will choose to wear the green and white shirt, and on the other, there is the realisation that not every promising player with Nigerian eligibility will make that critical decision to switch allegiance.
Soccernet.ng takes a look at ten players who are eligible to play for the national team but might also decide not to make the switch.
1. Lesley Ugochukwu
Lesley Chimuanya Ugochukwu, piqued the interest of a lot of Nigerians after Chelsea signed the defensive midfielder from Rennes last summer. Lesley is 21 years old and is the nephew of former Rennes and Nigeria centre-back Onyekachi Apam.
The Chelsea midfielder has played for France at every youth level, but is yet to be cap-tied by the senior team.
2. Ethan Nwaneri
Ethan Chidiebere Nwaneri is the youngest ever to play in the English Premier League, at just 15. The Arsenal midfielder has always been ahead of his peers and has always played for a senior side, even when he was much younger.
Now 16, Nwaneri has played for England’s U-16 and U-17 teams respectively, and was born in London, but he is of Nigerian descent. It then begs the question of whether the young Englishman would switch to the Super Eagles later in his career.
3. Justin Njinmah
Justin Gideon Njinmah, 23, was once on the books of Borussia Dortmund, before joining Werder Bremen where he has scored two goals in ten games for the Bundesliga side.
The forward was born in Germany and is of Nigerian descent. Njinmah is yet to represent Germany or any nation at any level, leaving the door open for a possible Super Eagles switch in the future.
4. Noah Atubolu
The 21-year-old S.C. Freiburg goalkeeper has been widely tipped by many to be the man who puts an end to the goalkeeping struggles of the Super Eagles.
At such a young age, he is Freiburg’s first choice and has represented Germany from the U-16 to the U-21 levels. He is of Nigerian descent and dons both the German and Nigerian flags on his goalkeeping gloves in every game.
5. Luca Koleosho
Luca Warrick Daeovie Koleosho is a winger who plays for Victor Kompany’s Burnley in the English Premier League. Koleosho is quick, direct and very tricky on the flanks.
Born in the United States to a Nigerian father, and an Italian-Canadian mother, Koleosho has the luxury of four countries of choice to play for.
Born in 2004, Koleosho has played for both the United States of America and Italy at youth level.
6. Nnamdi Collins
Pharrel Nnamdi Collins, joined Borussia Dortmund in 2016, before moving to Eintracht Frankfurt last summer. Collins was born in Germany but is of Nigerian descent as he is from a Nigerian family.
He has also represented Germany at all youth levels of football.
7. Carney Chukwuemeka
Carney Chibueze Chukwuemeka plays as an attacking midfielder for Chelsea. The 20-year-old was born in Austria to Nigerian parents but has represented England at every youth level.
Just like Nwaneri, the chances of Chukwuemeka playing for the Super Eagles in the future are very slim as he is eligible to play for Austria, England and Nigeria.
8. Samuel Edozie
Samuel Ikechukwu Edozie plays as a winger for Southampton. He was born in Lewisham, South London, and even played for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City before leaving for Southampton.
The 20-year-old was born to a Nigerian father and an English mother, Edozie has also represented England at all youth levels.
9. Kevin Martins
Kevin Maussi Martins is an Italian striker who plays for Monza. Born in 2005, the youngster has Nigerian roots as he is the son of the legendary Inter Milan striker, Obafemi Martins.
10. Michael Olise
Crystal Palace’s exciting 20-year-old winger, Michael Akpovie Olise is also eligible to represent four countries. Born in England to a Nigerian father and a French-Algerian mother, the Englishman has represented both France and England at youth levels, but is yet to be cap-tied by any nation.