Football governing body (FIFA) has cleared Leicester City’s Ademola Lookman to play for the Super Eagles, a move expected to booster the Nigerian team ahead of their 2022 World Cup playoff against rivals Ghana.
“New Eagle Alert! Ka bo @molalookman,” the Super Eagles wrote on its Instagram page on Thursday evening alongside the player’s photo. “Let’s show him love people.”
‘A Winning Mentality’
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“In that vein, I’m also glad to announce that the work we’ve put in has ensured that on-loan Leicester City winger, Ademola Lookman’s application to change his nationality and represent Nigeria has been approved by @FIFAcom,” president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick wrote in a series of tweets following a meeting with former Watford forward Odion Ighalo.
“Lookman was part of England’s title win at the 2017 U-20 World Cup & brings a winning mentality to our team. I can’t wait to see him make our Super Eagles that more formidable.”
The Leicester City forward represented England at the U19, U20, and U21 levels but was eligible to feature for the three-time African champions through his parents. He was a part of the English team that clinched the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017.
Born to Nigerian parents in Peckham, London, in 1997, Lookman is on loan at the King Power Stadium from RB Leipzig.
Ademola’s clearance will be a piece of good news to football fans in Nigeria who questioned the player’s omission from the team which represented the country at the just-concluded 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The NFF had in the wake of the development issued a statement clarifying why the former England youth international did not make the cut.
“The Nigeria Football Federation has stated categorically that Ademola Lookman of Leicester City FC of England has not yet been cleared by world football body, Fifa to represent Nigeria at international level. The process for his switch is ongoing,” the football body said at that time.
“It is therefore incorrect for any medium to claim that interim head coach, Austin Eguavoen is the one who axed the player from Nigeria’s final list of 28 for the Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021.
“However, his name was included in the initial provisional list with the belief that the process would have been completed before the commencement of Afcon.”
With his clearance, the player now joins a growing list of Nigerian footballers with dual nationality. Maduka Okoye, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, and Ola Aina were all born and raised outside the country.