Coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has revealed that he is willing to give chances in his team to foreign-born players who are genuinely interested in playing for the 2013 continental champions.
22-year-old Ohis Felix Uduokhai, born to a Nigerian father and a German mother, played for Germany’s U-21 until last year. The Wolfsburg defender is presently on loan at FC Augsburg and is looking to represent Germany at the Olympics.
Jordan Torunarigha, also 22, has been at Hertha Berlin since age eight and is now a regular at the Bundesliga side. The defender is keen on playing for Germany, despite having a Nigerian father.
And there’s Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma, born to a German mother and a Nigerian father, who has played for Germany at all youth levels.
Eligible to play for both Germany and Nigeria, the former captain of the German U-20 National has previously stated that he was open to playing to Nigeria.
The Nigeria Football Federation and Rohr are reportedly looking to convince the trio of Torunarigha, Uduokhai, and Akpoguma to switch their allegiances from Germany to Nigeria.
But the German tactician insists he won’t coerce any dual-eligible players to play for Nigeria.
“I never beg any player to play for Nigeria, this decision must be done by the players themselves like we have Cyriel Dessers who was in our last list, who played for another country (trained with Belgium U21s, ed) and he wants to play for us. I met him, spoke to him, saw his matches, and then invited him,” Rohr told Colin Udoh in an Instagram chat.
“The players who are actually in Germany you spoke about Jordan Torunarigha and Uduokhai played already for Germany U23. Especially Uduokhai he’s qualified for the Olympics, Felix wants to go to the Olympics with Germany, I can understand it.
“It’s not so easy; you cannot choose the best players if they played already for other countries, they must give us signs they want to come to Nigeria.
“I met Akpoguma also from Hoffenheim, his parents, we spoke about it, his father is Nigerian, and he would like him to come with us, but the boy was born in Germany, and he’s feeling more like a German.
“You cannot force somebody to come, we have a lot of talents in Germany, also Noah Bazee, who is playing again in Augsburg together with Felix Uduokhai.”