soccerblitz.net brings you a compiled list of footballers playing abroad we bet you never knew were Nigerians.
Here is our top 10 list, read, enjoy and comment below:
10. TIAGO ILORI
Full name Tiago Abiola Delfim Almeida Ilori is a Purtuguese proffessional footballer who plays as centre back for premiere league club Liverpool. Ilori was born in Hampstead, London to a British father of Nigerian descent and a Portuguese mother, Ilori played for Portugal at four youth levels, representing the nation at the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2013 Toulon Tournament and the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. He remained eligible to play for Portugal, England or Nigeria as a senior.
9. SIDNEY SAM
Born to a German mother and Nigerian father, Sam decided early on to represent his country of birth. After starring in Germany’s under-19 and under-20 teams, Sam made his senior international debut for Germany in a friendly game against Ecuador in Boca Raton, Florida. Sam was named to the 30-man provisional squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by German national team manager, Joachim Löw.
8. CHUBA AKPOM
He is currently on loan at Hull City from Arsenal FC. The young striker, who was born to a Nigerian father and an English mother has represented England at various youth levels and has even hinted that he may never play for Nigeria.
When asked where he sees himself 5 years from now during a Q and A session on Twitter, he said: “Hopefully still playing for Arsenal and the England senior team too. I want to emulate the Arsenal legends.”
7. NEDUM ONUOHA
Chinedum “Nedum” Onuoha (born 12 November 1986) plays for Queens Park Rangers. He is a defender, usually used as a centre back, but he can also play at right back or left back. Born in Warri, Nigeria, Onuoha was brought up in Manchester, England.
In March 2007, Onuoha received an international call up from Nigeria, but announced he would like to represent England at full international level.
However, he has since admitted that he would play at the FIFA World Cup for Nigeria if he were to be called up. Onuoha has never been capped by England at international level.
6. DAVID ALABA
When Bayern Munich won the 2012/2013 UEFA Champions League on May 25, 2013, David Alaba was seen with the Nigerian and Austrian flags strapped around his waist during the victory parade at the Wembly Stadium Alaba was born in Vienna to a Filipino mother who is a nurse and a Nigerian father who is a DJ and former rapper.
The five-time Austrian Player of the Year (2011-2015) whose middle name ‘Olatokunbo’ means ‘Wealth from a Foreign Land’ in Yoruba language was said to be keen on representing Nigeria at youth level. In fact if all had gone well, the left-back would have been in Nigeria’s U-17 squad to the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup handled by the late Yemi Tella but he was not considered despite voicing his interest to play for the Golden Eaglets.
“I wanted to play for Nigeria but I must confess that there was no formal approach for me. A scout actually discussed that with me. “I was excited because of my dad, he was a fan of (current Super Eagles coach) Sunday Oliseh when Oliseh played for FC Cologne. As a kid, I loved to watch Victor Agali in the jersey of Hansa Rostock,” he told an Austrian news medium. ”I got the information that Nigeria would only consider those who were in the country perhaps because of travelling logistics and that is the end of that.” Nigeria eventually won the U-17 World Cup but nonetheless would have achieved that with the added ‘victory’ of locking up one of the world’s best young players.
Two years later, the rejected stone turned the chief cornerstone as Alaba made his debut for the senior Austria national team in a match against France. He then became the youngest player in the history of the Austrian national team. Alaba has won the Bundesliga title five times as well as the DFB Pokal and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013.
5. ROSS BARKLEY
With a Nigerian paternal grandfather, he was eligible to represent Nigeria earlier in his career, but opted to represent his country of birth. He has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20, and under-21 and senior level.
He scored his first goal for England under-21’s on 13 August 2013, in a 6–0 win against Scotland.
Barkley was called up to the senior England squad in August 2013, and earned his first senior cap the following month, coming on as a substitute for Jack Wilshere in a 4–0 win in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova at Wembley.
4. GABRIEL AGBONOLAHOR
Gabriel Imuetinyan Agbonlahor was born on 13 October, 1986 to a Nigerian father from Edo State and a Scottish mother and lived all his life at Birmingham. On 19 November, 2008 he made his international debut against Germany. He played for 76 minutes. Since making his debut for England, Agbolanhor has only three caps for the English national team. He made his first appearance in a competitive international on 14 October, 2009, playing 66 minutes in the 3-0 win over Belarus in the last game of qualification for the 2010 World Cup. He was last called up to the squad in November 2011.
3. TAMMY ABRAHAM
Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham, more commonly known as Tammy Abraham, (born 2 October 1997) is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Bristol City in the Championship, on loan from Chelsea, and the England U21 football team. Tammy whose parent are of Nigerian decent recently spoke that he is undecided whether to represent Nigeria or England at international stating that it is too early in his career.
He remains eligible to represent Nigeria through his father and has in the past been sounded out by the Nigerian Football Association. Abraham’s father is close friends with Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick.
2. JORDAN IBE
The Liverpool FC winger is another footballer of Nigerian descent lost to England. Born Jordan Ashley Femi Ibe, he is a winger cum striker and has played his entire career at Anfield.
Ibe has represented England at various youth teams. Sunday Oliseh tried persuading him to play for the Super Eagles, however on 13 September, it was confirmed that Ibe had committed his international future to England.
1. DELE ALLI
Full name, Bamidele Alli, the supremely talented midfield prodigy regretfully plays for England and not Nigeria. His name means “Follow me to my House” in Yoruba and the name is given to a child born outside their community, state, or country.
On October 1, 2015, while Nigerians were marking the 55th anniversary of the country, England manager Roy Hodgson on that day was busy hatching a plan to deprive Nigeria of one of its best prospects, Alli. The wily Hodgson on Nigeria’s Independence Day named the midfielder in his team for their final UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying matches against Estonia and Lithuania.
The youngster made his debut against Estonia eight days later, coming on as a late substitute for another ‘lost son of Nigeria’ Ross Barkley in a 2-0 win. On 17 November 2015, Alli made his first start for the England senior team, scoring the opening goal from a long range shot to beat Spurs team-mate, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in a 2-0 win against France at Wembley Stadium in the aftermath of the Paris bombing that shook the world. Alli, injury permitting, is nailed-on to make Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016 this summer in France.