Akpoguma: Rohr reveals ex-German youth star’s switch to Nigeria

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Kevin Akpoguma chased by Nigeria's Isaac Success
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The 25-year-old defender is eligible to play for the Super Eagles despite previously starring for the European country's youth team

Nigeria national team coach Gernot Rohr has revealed the decision of Kevin Akpoguma to switch his allegiance to the West Africans.

The centre-back was born to a German mother and a Nigerian father and has represented the Germany U16, U17, U18, U19, U20 and U20 teams, featuring in more than 60 games.

Akpoguma is, however, still eligible to play for the Super Eagles since he has not represented the European country at senior level.

The centre-back has been with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim since 2015 and made 18 league appearances for the Kraichgauer last season, helping them to finish sixth in the campaign.

The defender played a prominent role in his side’s opening league game of the 2020-21 season against Koln on Saturday.

Rohr explained he has met with the 25-year-old and has revealed his decision to commit his international future to Nigeria.

"It was not my job to convince [Kevin] Akpoguma to come and play for Nigeria," Rohr told BBC Sport.

"I had a good conversation with him and his family while watching several games in Hoffenheim.

"After the matches, we met and could talk. I presented our projects and I could speak about the team, about this incredible period in the Super Eagles and my vision for the team.

"He was sold on this and would love to be a part of the team and play in big international competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations or even the World Cup.

"We are very happy about the decision of Kevin Akpoguma to switch from Germany to Nigeria. Because he played for Germany at youth levels, the process is not finished yet because Fifa must give the authorisation.”

Nigeria has lined up two friendly games against Tunisia and Ivory Coast but the German tactician feels the defender might miss the outings as he awaits Fifa’s approval to his wish.

"He has fulfilled the written request to switch and we only await the good news that he can finally play for us,” Rohr continued.

"It's too soon to expect him to play our two friendlies in October, but hopefully for the Nations Cup qualifiers in November."

The likes of Ola Aina, Brian Idowu, Tyronne Ebuehi, Joe Aribo, Maduka Okoye, Kingsley Ehizibue and Cyril Dessers have switched their allegiances to the West Africans since the arrival of Rohr.

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Nigeria will continue their quest to feature in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations when they face Sierra Leone in their next qualifying game in November.

The Super Eagles currently lead Group L with six points after securing victories against the Republic of Benin and Lesotho.

 

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