News Article  | African Football

Africans Who Switched Allegiances At Senior Level

Africans Who Switched Allegiances At Senior Level

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By David Kappel - Sep 07, 2017 07:15 PM @kappilinho

A Chelsea starlet has become the latest player to switch allegiances from Europe to Africa. Here is a list of stars, including two CAF African Players of the Year, who represented European countries at youth level, but returned to their African roots in senior football.

Click through the gallery above to see some stars who chose Africa over Europe at senior level.

Ola Aina, who is on loan at Hull City this season, played for England at youth level – from U16 to U20 – but was recently cleared by FIFA to run out for Nigeria. The 20-year-old was born in London but his parents are from the African country.

"It was a very proud moment to get called up by Nigeria and the prospect of representing my country for the first time is very exciting," Aina told Hull City's official website when hearing about his call-up for the recent international break.

"Everyone wants to play at the highest level and that's what international level is. For me, it's very exciting and I want to do really well.

"I hadn't played for England at any level for quite a while, and international football is something that I wanted to experience. Also, Nigeria is where my origins are."

However, Aina, who was in Nigeria's squad during the recent international break but did not make an appearance, is not the first player and will surely not be the last starlet to pledge their allegiance to Africa. In fact, after years of European nations snapping up some of Africa's greatest talents, including World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane, more African countries are now looking at Europe for talent with African roots.

A rule change in January 2004 allowed players who were capped for one country at youth level to run out for another at senior level. These footballers must have dual citizenship and be uncapped in a competitive match for the country they want to switch from. The rule initially included an age cap, only allowing players to switch allegiances until the age of 21, but this was later removed, in June 2009.

French-born Antar Yahia became the first footballer to switch loyalties after representing France at U16 and U23 level, when he switched to Algeria in 2004 and made his debut in an Olympic Games qualifier, scoring the only goal of the game against Ghana, as Al Jazeera pointed out.

Read: 10 Africans Who Could Still Move After The Window Closed

However, many, including 2015 CAF African Player of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (France to Gabon) and 2007 CAF African Player of the Year Frederic Kanoute (France to Mali) would follow. Kevin-Prince Boateng (Germany to Ghana), Alex Iwobi (England to Nigeria) and Wilfried Zaha (England to Ivory Coast) are some of the other names in the gallery.

Do you think more African nations should chase talent with African origins to switch allegiances? Have your say in the comments section below.


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Real Pirates Fc Joined: 07 Feb 2016
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Real Pirates Fc Sep 10, 2017 01:29 PM
Only here our idiots dont want to represent our national team..but i dont blame them tho..bafana is a joke
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@boyza02 Joined: 27 Jul 2017
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@boyza02 Sep 10, 2017 12:03 PM
France united fc
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pnkgabane1 Joined: 10 Sep 2017
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pnkgabane1 Sep 10, 2017 11:57 AM
but us South Africans we dont have patriotic players they jst choose to represent European countries so question is who fault is that SAFA for not doing their best to persuade them or the coaches?
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luckydinho Joined: 06 Aug 2011
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luckydinho Sep 10, 2017 09:15 AM
Defeated SSUt 2 good
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fura da bravo Joined: 13 Aug 2017
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fura da bravo Sep 09, 2017 09:02 PM
@Maphoru2017 its bcz France has colonise most African countries so the is no need for permits (visas) of those players as thier countries are ruled bt france
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fura da bravo Joined: 13 Aug 2017
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fura da bravo Sep 09, 2017 08:57 PM
Sometimes EUROPE destroys Africa mna i really don't lyk to see African players busy representing European countries
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Lusapho Makhubalo Joined: 03 Oct 2016
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Lusapho Makhubalo Sep 09, 2017 07:11 AM
Wow
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MaVotja888 Joined: 06 Mar 2013
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MaVotja888 Sep 09, 2017 06:38 AM
These cats only "choose" Africa when they see they don't stand a chance in their desired countries!.. Guys like David Somma!.
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tinashenengomasha Joined: 03 Aug 2017
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tinashenengomasha Sep 08, 2017 11:52 PM
dats gud
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emilem442 Joined: 13 May 2015
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emilem442 Sep 08, 2017 03:26 PM
look at has somehow benefited some african countries ,gaze at the case of cape verde for an instance most of their players where born in foreign countries but came back to perform well for their country of origin.
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KingKMS Joined: 17 Mar 2012
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KingKMS Sep 08, 2017 02:28 PM
@Maphoru2017 most of them are former French colony countries, so it's easier for African parents from those countries to move to France. Also noticed that between England and Nigeria.
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Matt93 Joined: 07 Apr 2015
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Matt93 Sep 08, 2017 10:39 AM
Francika
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AS Joined: 15 Feb 2010
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AS Sep 08, 2017 09:30 AM
@Maphoru2017 Simple,Its because most West and North African countries were French speaking colonies and hence most Africans parents used to study and work there.
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Maphoru2017 Joined: 17 Aug 2017
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Maphoru2017 Sep 08, 2017 01:22 AM
Why france had many african people,how come actually?
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Mehl Joined: 04 Sep 2017
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Mehl Sep 07, 2017 10:37 PM
France has African players

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