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Top 10 Football Prospects With Nigerian Heritage

Top 10 Football Prospects With Nigerian Heritage

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In contemporary times, Nigerians are known to be scattered across the globe. They end up settling in different continents. Europe is known to have the highest concentration of Nigerians in diaspora. As a result of this, they procreate, hereby giving birth to children with Nigerian heritage.

Alaba

Some turn out to be talented footballers, in the cases of David Alaba, Ross Barkley etc. They’ve ended up playing for either their country of birth or their country of naturalisation. As a result of this, the Super Eagles has lost plethora of talented footballers to other countries. They failed to act swiftly to try and motivate and convince them to dorn the green and white colours of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Fast forward to the tenure of NFF President ‘Amaju Pinnick’, he and his cohorts have sought the means to motivate and convince young prospects to turn up for Nigeria as soon as possible, before it is too late. As a result, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Carl Ikeme and most notably, Alex Iwobi have all been convinced to ditch their countries of naturalisation in favour of Nigeria. In light of this, here are top ten football prospects that should be convinced to be part of the Nigerian set-up.

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1. Tiago Ilori

Tiago Ilori Liverpool

Tiago Abiola Delfim Almeida Ilori (born 26 February 1993) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for English club Liverpool FC. Tiago was born in Hampstead, London to a British father of Nigerian descent and a Portuguese mother.

He plays as a Central Defender. He is uncharacteristically fast for a defender nowadays. He was the fastest player ever recorded over 30 metre sprints at Sporting’s academy set-up, breaking the times of the likes of pace merchants Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Cristiano Ronaldo in the process.

Tiago started his professional career with Portuguese giants, Sporting Lisbon, he rose to their ranks and made his debut in 2011. After promising seasons with Lisbon, he signed for Liverpool in 2013 for an undisclosed fee, reported to be around £7million. Since signing for Liverpool, Ilori has been shipped out on loan to various clubs, recently to Aston Villa to gain valuable experience.

Tiago Ilori is eligible to play for Portugal (Mother), England(Place of Birth) or Nigeria(Father).

Tiago hasn’t been given the opportunity to prove his mettle at his parent club, he still has plenty of years ahead of him to make his name in world football. Nigeria would be wise to unearth this gem quickly.

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2. Sheyi Ojo

Football Soccer - Liverpool v Exeter City - FA Cup Third Round Replay - Anfield - 20/1/16 Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo celebrates scoring their second goal Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Football Soccer – Liverpool v Exeter City – FA Cup Third Round Replay – Anfield – 20/1/16
Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo celebrates scoring their second goal
Reuters / Phil Noble
Livepic
EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Oluwaseyi Babajide “Sheyi” Ojo (born 19 June 1997) is an English footballer who plays for English club Liverpool FC. Sheyi was born in Hemel Hempstead, England to a Nigerian father Olu Ojo and Natasha Ojo.

Sheyi plays as a winger. He is blessed with pace and valuable trickery. He joined the academy of MK Dons when he was 10 years old. By the age of 13, he had played for the Dons’ U18 side and was training with the first team squad. At the tender age of 14 (2011), Ojo was signed for Liverpool for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £2 million.
Over the years, Ojo was loaned out to Wigan and Wolves. He eventually made his way into Brendan Rodgers plan. He made his first-team competitive debut for Liverpool, as a substitute in the FA Cup third round match against Exeter City. He scored his first competitive goal for Liverpool in the replay against Exeter on 20 January 2016.

Ojo made his Premier League debut on 20th March 2016, replacing Joe Allen in the 87th minute in a 3-2 loss away to Southampton. He made his first start for Liverpool in the Premier League against Stoke City at Anfield on the 10th of April 2016, where he assisted Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool’s second goal in a 4-1 win.

Ojo is eligible to play for England(Place of Birth) and Nigeria(Father).

Sheyi Ojo is highly rated in Merseyside, he has been touted as the next Raheem Sterling. Nigeria would do well if they can convince him before he eventually sets EPL alight.

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3. Jordon Ibe

Jordon Ibe Liverpool

Jordon Ashley Femi Ibe (born 8 December 1995) is an English professional footballer who plays for Liverpool FC. Ibe was born in South London to a Nigerian father David Ibe and Charlet Ibe.

Ibe plays as an attacking midfielder or as a winger. He is blessed with abundant pace and also possesses the ability to manoeuvre his way in tight situations. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers described Ibe as a player with a “bright footballing brain” who has the versatility to play as a winger on either flank, as a playmaker or as a striker. He came up through the youth system of Wycombe Wanderers, for whom he made his debut for as a 15 year old. He eventually joined Merseyside powerhouse Liverpool in 2012 for an undisclosed fee.
Ibe impressed in his EPL debut for Liverpool in the final game of the 2012/13 season, starting the match and assisting Philippe Coutinho for the only goal of the match against Queens Park Rangers. Ibe has since gone on to make 40 more appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, scoring one goal in the process.

Ojo is still eligible to play for England and Nigeria(Father) at senior level. He has represented the Three Lions at various youth levels. He could still change his mind after he was said to have committed his international future to England on 13 September, 2015.

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4. Chuba Akpom

Chuba

Chuba Amechi Williams Akpom (born 9 October 1995) is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Arsenal FC, currently on loan at Hull City. Akpom was born in Canning Town, London to Nigerian parents.

Chuba plays as an attacking midfielder or as a winger.

Akpom joined Arsenal at the age of six. He made his debut for the Arsenal U18 side at the age of 15, and signed his first professional contract with Arsenal on 10 October 2012, a day after turning 17. Akpom made his competitive debut in a 3–1 Premier League win over Sunderland on 14 September 2013 as he came on in the third minute of injury time as a substitute for the injured Olivier Giroud.
In order to gain valuable match experience under his belt, he was loaned to Brentford and Coventry City. Down the years, he was loaned out again to Nottingham Forest and Hull City, helping the Tigers in the Championship in which they eventually secured top flight football via the Football League Championship play-offs 2015/16 for the Premier League 2016/17 season. In his season long loan move to Hull City, Chuba played 35 matches for the Tigers, scoring 3 times in the process.

Akpom has represented England at various youth international levels. He is still eligible to ply his trade internationally for Nigeria because of his parental roots.
Bearing in mind that this was Chuba’s first full season at the age of 20, his future can only get better. Nigeria had better grab him as soon as possible.

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5. Ola Aina

Ola Aina 2016

Temitayo Olufisayo Olaoluwa Aina (born 8 October 1996) is an English professional footballer who plays for English side Chelsea FC. Ola Aina was born in London, England to Nigerian parents.

Aina joined Chelsea at Under-11 after a successful trial. He started his career as a right winger with an eye for goal, before moving further back and establishing himself predominantly as a highly mobile full-back, also capable of playing as a central defender. Aina continued to impress at right-back in his youthful career at Chelsea. He eventually earned a professional contract at Chelsea upon his 17th birthday in October. His impressive displays for Chelsea’s youth was acknowledged by Jose Mourinho, who included the defender in his squad for the post and pre-season tours. Ola has been at the centre of Chelsea’s golden youth generation, he has won loads of trophies with Chelsea as one of the leaders of men in the team.

He has represented the Three Lions at Under-19s, Under-18s, Under-17s, Under-16s. Ola is still eligible to play for Nigeria due to his parental background.

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6. Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori 2016

Oluwafikayomi Oluwadamilola “Fikayo” Tomori (born 19 December 1997) is a professional footballer who plays for Chelsea FC. Tomori was born to Nigerian parents in Calgary, Canada.

Fikayo plays as a right-sided central defender or as right back. He predominantly played on the right side of central defence or at right-back through the age groups which he has mastered.

Tomori joined Chelsea at Under-8 level and progressed through the clubs academy system. His strong performances for Chelsea earned him a first-year professional contract in July 2015, which commits him to the club until the end of the 2017/18 season. He was part of the integral spine of Chelsea’s youth side which recorded back to back triumphs in both the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup in 2015 and 2016.

On 15 May 2016, in Chelsea’s final game of the 2015/16 campaign, Fikayo Tomori made his professional debut in a 1–1 draw with Premier League champions Leicester City, replacing Branislav Ivanović in the 60th minute. His season was then capped off by winning Chelsea academy player of the year award for the 2015/16 season.

Tomori has represented Canada(Country of Birth) and England(Naturalisation) at youth levels. He is still eligible to feature for Nigeria(Parents)

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7. Ike Ugbo

Ike Ugbo 2016

Iké Dominique Ugbo (born 21 September 1998) is a professional footballer playing for English side, Chelsea FC. Ike was born in London, England to Nigerian parents.

Ike plays as a striker or as a second striker. Although now a striker, he spent the majority of his younger schoolboy years playing in a number of different positions.

Ike signed as an Under-10. He worked his way up, playing in different positions, until he finally nailed down his position as a striker at the start of the 2014/15 season. He featured often for Chelsea youth team, scoring 11 goals in 18 appearances, while also making debuts for the Under-19s and Under-21s. In 2015/16, Ugbo established a goal-a-game record for the youth team. Because of his strong performances for the Blues, he was rewarded with his first professional contract in September 2015.

Ugbo is an England Under-17 international, he is still however eligible to represent Nigeria.

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8. Dominic Solanke

Dominic Solanke 2016

Dominic Ayodele Solanke-Mitchell (born 14 September 1997) is an English professional footballer who plays for Chelsea FC. Solanke was born in Basingstoke, England.

Solanke prefers playing as a striker, he can also play as a winger on either side and as an attacking midfielder.

Dominic has been at Chelsea since the Under-8 age group and has been a prolific goalscorer as he has progressed through the ranks. During the 2013–14 season, Solanke scored 20 goals in 25 games for Chelsea under-18s. During the 2014/15 season, Solanke reached 41 goals for the season after scoring a hat-trick in a 4-3 victory over Liverpool U21. On 21 October 2014, Dom made his professional debut as a substitute for Oscar in the 73rd minute of a 6–0 win over NK Maribor in the Champions League. This made him the youngest player to debut in the Champions League for Chelsea. To cap off his excellent season, he was named Chelsea academy player of the year 2014/15 season and England youth player of the year for 2014.

Solanke has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19, and under-21 levels. He is still eligible for Nigeria due to his parental descent.

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9. Tosin Adarabioyo

Tosin Adarabioyo 2016

Abdul-Nasir Oluwatosin “Tosin” Adarabioyo (born 24 September 1997) is an English professional footballer who plays for the blue side of Manchester (Manchester City). Tosin was born in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Adarabioyo plays as a centre back. He is excellent on the ball, possesses good positional awareness and leadership skills.

Adarabioyo joined the youth system at Manchester City aged five. He made his U18 debut for the club aged 14. His commanding presence on the pitch was evident, he was then named captain of the U18 aged 16 at the start of the 2014/15 campaign. Tosin never looked back from there. He became an ever-present in Man City’s 2015/16 UEFA Youth League campaign, Tosin was a key part of a stingy back line that conceded just four goals to help City to a 100% record in the group stages. Because of his steady development, Tosin was promoted to City’s Elite Development Squad set-up full-time.  On 21 February 2016, Manuel Pellegrini fielded a team of youngsters in which Adarabioyo started the match. This was his first-team debut in an FA Cup match against Chelsea. Tosin never looked out of place against Chelsea’s first team players, they still lost 5-1.

Adarabioyo has represented England at the Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 levels. However, he is still eligible to switch allegiance to Nigeria due to his parental roots.

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10. Kevin Akpoguma

Kevin Akpoguma 2016

Kevin John Ufuoma Akpoguma (born 19 April 1995) is a German footballer who plays for Fortuna Düsseldorf, on loan from 1899 Hoffenheim. He was born in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany to a Nigerian father.

Akpoguma is a tall, strong, big, intimidating and imposing centre back. His 1.92 metres (6’4in) are perfect for a centre back. He has speed, good technique and is a dynamic player. He used to be a forward before he was converted by a former youth team coach. Kevin Akpoguma has been favourably compared with his idol, Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng. Like his idol, he is also capable of playing at right back.

Kevin has not really made his mark on club football for Hoffenheim senior team. He was shipped out on a two year loan deal to second-tier German side, Fortuna Dusseldorf to garner much needed experience.

On the International scene, Kevin has played for Germany Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 levels. In 2013 he was awarded the Fritz-Walter medal in gold from the DFB, which honours every year the best German players of U17, U18 and U19. He won European U19 Championship in 2014, and also captained the German Under-20 team that reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

He is still however eligible to feature for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

NB: The top ten players with Nigerian heritage still eligible to play for Nigeria listed above are in no way listed according to how good they are nor chances of eventually playing for Nigeria.

Sources: Wikipedia.com, Chelseafc.com, Liverpoolecho.co.uk, MCFC, Goal.com

Compiled & Written by – Olawale Oladimeji

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