Seven Nigerian-born players competing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup


Nigeria are not playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which kicked off on Sunday, November 20. The Nigerian team are not one of the Africa Football Confederations’ representatives after they lost to Ghana in the World Cup qualifying playoffs. 

Although Nigeria are not competing in the World Cup, several Nigerian-born players are playing in Qatar. Seven top players are playing for national teams in Qatar thanks to the Nigerian diaspora. The seven players will suit up for a diverse set of teams in the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament, and one of them could get their hands on the tournament’s trophy. 

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Bukayo Saka – England

Arguably the best player on this list is England’s Bukayo Saka, who scored two goals in the Three Lions’ 6-2 World Cup win against Iran. Saka has quickly become regarded as one of the best young attacking footballers in the world. The forward is one of the reasons Arsenal could end their Premier League title drought this season.

Ike Ugbo – Canada

Ike Ugbo had three national teams to select from. His parents are from Nigeria, but Ugbo was born in England. The forward ultimately chose Canada due to residency, however. Ugbo came through the Chelsea football academy. He represented England at the U20 level and won the prestigious Toulon Tournament in 2017. In 2021, Ugbo declared his desire to play for Nigeria. However, just two months after the announcement, the forward changed allegiances to Canada. Ugbo made a mere eight appearances for Team Canada before being selected for the World Cup squad.

Samuel Adekugbe – Canada

Left-back Samuel Adekugbe will play for Canada in the 2022 World Cup. Adekugbe is another star player who could have joined the Super Eagles. His parents can trace their roots back to Nigeria. The defender was recruited by Canada as a youth player, which sealed his fate at the international level. Adekugbe made his senior team debut in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017. 

Jamal Musiala – Germany

Jamal Musiala will line up for Germany in the World Cup. The midfielder could have played for Nigeria thanks to his father, but chose Germany in the end. Musiala grew up in London and played for Chelsea’s academy before moving to Germany and joining Bayern Munich. The midfielder could have also picked the England national team to represent. 

Karim Adeyemi – Germany

Karim Adeyemi will line up in the same team as Musiala. The Borussia Dortmund player was eligible to represent Nigeria thanks to his father. He could have also represented Romania courtesy of his mother. However, Adeyemi chose the country of his birth, Germany. The forward was born in Munich and came through the Red Bull Salzburg academy before moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2022. 

Manuel Akanji – Switzerland

Like Okafor, Manuel Akanji qualifies for Nigeria thanks to his father and Switzerland due to his mother. The powerful Manchester City defender decided to represent Switzerland and will likely start throughout the team’s time in Qatar. Akanji recorded 43 caps for Switzerland before the 2022 World Cup. 

Noah Okafor – Switzerland

Noah Okafor will play for Switzerland in the 2022 World Cup. Okafor’s father hails from Nigeria, and his mother from Switzerland, allowing him to qualify for both national teams. The forward rose through the FC Basel youth academy before moving to Red Bull Salzburg.

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