SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr of having Fulham winger Ademola Lookman and Reading playmaker Ovie Ejaria available for selection in March when the team gets together for its final round of African Nations Cup qualifiers.
So far this season, Lookman has been sensational for Fulham, dazzling the Premier league with his electric runs, pace and trickery. Ejaria too has been in fine form, not only with his displays but with goals too, that has catapulted Reading up to firth place in the English Championship.
Lookman, 22, joined Fulham on a season long loan from German side Leipzig on deadline day and has quickly established himself as the side’s best player. Fulham manager Scott Parker, described Lookman as a top talent and England fans are already calling on manager Gareth Southgate to cap him.
In January this year, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) reported that Lookman applied to Fifa for a switch of nationality to Nigeria that will enable him to play for the Super Eagles during the World Cup qualifiers. Born in England to Nigerian parents, Lookman was a key part of an England Under-20 team which won the U20 World Cup, so needs a Fifa switch to play for Nigeria.
Ejaria, also 22, was born to Nigerian parents in Southwark in southeast London and has also featured for the English youth team, so he too will need to go through a Fifa switch before featuring for the Super Eagles. Under Fifa rules, if a player has represented one country youth level in competitive games, he will need to go through a formal switching process, which can sometimes take up to a year.
According to the NFF, both players should have their clearance certified by March when Nigeria plays her final two African Nations Cup qualifiers away to Benin Republic and at home to Lesotho. An NFF spokesman says he believes both matters will be finalised in December.
He added: “Last time we checked, just one signature was left to sign it off. So, unless they are not called by the coach, next year, they should both play for the Super Eagles.
“Coach Gernot Rohr believes they will both add more options to the team and the NFF has been very supportive of his move. We hope it ends soon for the good of all as both Lookman and Ejaria are keen.”
In the past, Nigeria has been very successfully as attracting diasporans with dual nationality as the likes of Victor Moses, Ola Aina and Alex Iwobi all managed to make the switch without any hassle. Diasporans who had never featured for the countries of their birth like William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo, Maduka Okoye, Bryan Idowu and Tyrone Ebuehi, were however, eligible to play for the Super Eagles straight away.