Ranking Top 30 Nigerian players who could have played for another country – Goal.com
Who are the Super Eagles’ greatest dual-national players ever?
Liverpool-born midfielder who learned his trade with Everton before spending nine years in the EFL, predominantly in the Championship. Still only 30, he recently dropped down to the ninth tier of English football with Atherton Laburnum Rovers FC. Tunji Banjo The first diaspora-born player to represent Nigeria, the former Leyton Orient midfielder was born in London but amassed seven caps for the Super Eagles during the early 80s.
Talented Rangers defender who committed his international future to Nigeria in 2021, Bassey was ultimately overlooked for the Nations Cup squad but can still look forward to a long career with the national side. Born in Italy, Bassey could have also represented England at senior level.
Russia-born left-back who scored on his international debut against Argentina, and went onto take part of the Super Eagles squad at the 2018 World Cup—in Russia! He’s since fallen out of the international scene, and hasn’t featured for the Eagles since 2018. Emeka Nwajiobi A popular figure at Luton Town in the mid-80s, attacker Nwajiobi made four appearances for the national side and subsequently forged a career in the pharmacy business.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, Ajayi has long been a solid performer in the Championship, and won over a few admirers during his sole Premier League career with West Bromwich Albion. Looked clumsy at times when used in a defensive-midfield role by Rohr, but was drafted into the Eagles squad for the 2021 Nations Cup.
Kano-born midfielder who was raised in Peckham, South London, before beginning his career with Manchester City. He represented the likes of Preston North End, Norwich City, Sunderland and Fulham, and enjoyed his best year with Nigeria in 2010, when he was part of the squad that finished third at the Afcon and featured at the World Cup.
One-time Sunderland wonderkid who cut ties with the Black Cats to move to French side Girondins de Bordeaux in 2019. He’s since returned to England on loan—with Fulham then Stoke City—and made his sole Nigeria appearance to date in 2019. At 23, expect Maja to add to his tally of international caps.
Journeyman striker whose sole Nigeria appearance came in 1999 against Greece. Born in Hackey, East London, Akinbiyi featured for Norwich City and Leicester City in the Premier League.
Amassed just under 350 appearances in England’s top divisions—most notably for Queens Park Rangers and Millwall—while he also made 32 appearances for the Super Eagles. The London-raised centre-back featured for Nigeria at two Nations Cups and the World Cup in 2010.
Ex-Germany youth international who was born in the European nation to a German mother and a Nigerian father. He made his debut for Nigeria in October 2020, but was excluded by Augustine Eguavoen from his 28-man Nations Cup squad.
Germany-born Okoye is the current Nigeria number one, and appears set for a long tenure between the sticks for the national side, having recently signed for Premier League Watford. He has his work cut out to boost his reputation with Eagles fans, having taken some of the blame for their elimination following his blunder against Tunisia at the Afcon. Reuben Agboola London-born defender who was the first dual-national player to represent Nigeria at a tournament when he featured under Clemens Westerhof in the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations.
Injuries have affected Ebuehi’s progress for both club and country—undermining his 2018 move to Benfica—but he’s currently building his career back at Serie A side Venezia. Netherlands-born, he rejected his first call-up to the Nigeria side in November 2016.
Has proved his scoring qualities in the top two divisions of Dutch football, and is now back thriving at Feyenoord after struggling to sustain his momentum with Belgian heavyweights Genk. Dessers hasn’t truly been given a fair crack of the whip at international level, and was ultimately left out of the 2021 Afcon squad.
Greenwich-born cult hero who was famed for wearing a bandana bearing the message ‘Against All Odds’ while in action. He represented Nigeria at the 2000 Afcon and at the 2002 World Cup, where he helped the Eagles keep a clean sheet against England, and had a 19-year playing career in England. He represented Huddersfield Town and Crewe Alexandra among others.
Long-time Wolverhampton Wanderers custodian who spent 15 years with the Old Gold, and had appeared to be Nigeria’s long-term successor to Vincent Enyeama. Unfortunately, his Super Eagles career was curtailed after 10 matches when the keeper was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Lagos born, Anichebe moved to Liverpool as a baby and—like the aforementioned Akpan—learned his trade in the Everton academy. He spent 11 years in English football, going on to represent West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland, but his international career was underwhelming, with one injury sustained against Madagascar in 2011 affecting his progress.
Born in Germany, Balogun suffered a setback on his international debut when he was injured against Mexico, subsequently missing out on the 2014 World Cup. He’s made up for that absence in subsequent years, but missed out on the recent Nations Cup due to injury.
Hounslow-born forward who represented England up to U19 level and subsequently switched to represent Nigeria. Like his stop-start club career with the likes of Hull City and Rangers, his international career didn’t truly bear fruit, and he never represented the Eagles at a major tournament. He’s currently playing with Ipswich Town in the third tier. John Chiedozie Another ex-Orient player, wideman Chiedozie also represented Tottenham Hotspur, Notts County and Derby Country during a 15-year career in the English game. Born in Nigeria, he was raised in England, and amassed nine caps for the Eagles following his debut in 1981.
An England youth international up to U20 level, Aina was part of the Nigeria squad that finished third at the 2019 Nations Cup. He was one of several players guilty of an error in the Afcon ’21 elimination at the hands of Tunisia, but remains a big asset for the national side.
The latest player to switch to the Super Eagles, ex-England youth international Lookman appears primed to make his debut for Nigeria in the World Cup playoffs against Ghana next month. He’s represented England up to U21 level, but hasn’t truly realised his potential at club level following earlier stints with Everton, Fulham and RasenBallsport Leipzig.
A coup for Nigeria when he was recruited by the Super Eagles from a career with England’s youth teams, Iwobi was promptly named Caf Young Player of the Year in 2016. He moved from Arsenal to Everton for £34 million in 2019, and things have gone downhill since. Can England-born Iwobi, who was sent off after only seven minutes against Tunisia in the Nations Cup, turn things around for club and country?
Born in leafy Camberwell, in South London, Aribo enjoyed some of his best Nigeria performances during the Nations Cup, where he appeared to enjoy himself under Eguavoen. At club level, he’s making progress under Steven Gerrard at Rangers, and at 25, has the potential to become an even more integral part of the Nigeria first team as they look to make an impact at the World Cup.
The most capped dual-nationality player in Nigeria history, Troost-Ekong has helped brought stability and assurance to the backline, forging a fine partnership with the aforementioned Balogun. Troost-Ekong was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch mother and a Nigerian father, and represented the European country up to U20 level.
The first dual national to win the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, ex-Wimbledon forward Ekoku was part of the Golden Generation to win the title in 1994. He would also feature at the World Cup later that year.
Zaria-born Ameobi moved to England at the age of five, and represented his adopted nation at youth level. His extended tenure with Newcastle United—with whom he amassed over 300 league appearances—piqued the interest of Nigeria selectors, and he represented the Eagles at the 2014 World Cup.
The first player born outside of England or Nigeria to represent the Super Eagles, Odemwingie was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and enjoyed a 62-cap career with the national side. He represented Nigeria at four Afcons, the Olympic Games, and two World Cups, netting the decisive winner against Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2014 to send the Eagles through to the knockout stages.
A Premier League winner with Chelsea, Moses has also featured for the likes of Liverpool and Internazionale during a storied career. The second dual national after Ekoku to win the Nations Cup, he was part of the side that conquered the continent in 2013, memorably scoring twice in the group-stage victory over Ethiopia. Moses has a British passport, having lived in the UK since fleeing his homeland as an 11-year-old.
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