Black Stars of Ghana coach Akonnor has confessed his admiration for the current Nigeria national team players and the way the Nigeria Football Federation pursue footballers who are in diaspora having Nigerian roots.
In time past, the Super Eagles never really had players who were born overseas or players who have dual nationalities but they still boasted of world class players like Kanu Nwankwo, Austin Okocha and co. In recent years, tides have changed as the federation have stepped up their game by wooing foreign based players who have shown interest in playing for the Super Eagles.
Nigeria boast of players with dual nationalities in diaspora, we can find them in England, Belgium, Germany, France, and co.
Since 2012 players who are either given birth to in Europe to Nigerian parents or naturalized have dumped foreign nations to play for Nigeria, players like Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina, Semi Ajayi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Tyrone Ebuehi.
Recently we’ve seen different set of players declare their intention to play for the Super Eagles, players like Kingsley Ehizibue, Joe Aribo and Cyriel Dessers. Some other guys are still awaiting approval/clearance from FIFA, players likes Ovie Ejaria, Ademola Lookman and Sheyi Ọjọ.
The NFF are not done yet as they’re trying their best in wooing QPR’s Eberechi Eze and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.
“The most important thing is those who were born in Europe. Some of them are eager to play for the Black Stars,” Akonnor told Starr FM.
“That is what we want to do. Look at Nigeria, I think they have done that in a very nice way.
“They have brought a lot of guys who were born in Europe and the Nigerian team is now transformed so we are trying to do the same with the national team.”
Akonnor, after a European tour in March gave a list of seven Ghanaian who are in diaspora and have either agreed to commit their international future to the Black Stars or are thinking about it at the moment.
The list of those who have agreed to switch allegiance includes Strasbourg France born centre-back Alexander Djiku, Anderlecht’s defender Derrick Luckassen, who was a youth international with the Netherlands, France-born Gent midfielder Elisha Owusu and Bordeaux’s Enock Kwateng.
The Gold coast gaffer revealed that he had meetings with Anderlecht’s duo Francis Amuzu and Geremy Doku who are eligible to play for Belgium, and Ajax and Netherlands youth team striker Brian Brobbey over a committing their international future to the Black Stars.
“With regards to European-born players, it’s necessary for me to let you know the names [of the players we are working on],” Akonnor said at a press conference.
“Those I spoke to want to play [for Ghana] but they are also not familiar with our lifestyle here. They don’t know what is going on, some probably just come here [briefly] and go back.
“They don’t know anything about us and I think it is important for us to encourage them to come here and see what is going on here. They are willing to come but they don’t know what it is [like here].”
“Talking of quality players, I think I made mention of six or five players which I believe are quality [players]. They’ll enhance the way we play, the way we go forward. These names are with the FA and the FA has already started working on it.
“We cannot get them now but once we get them, they’ll improve our team. Once we have quality, they will improve our chance of winning Afcon.
“Djiku and Owusu are currently eligible to play. Management is working hard to get them on board.”
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get them [seven players] on board.”
In the Premier League, Ghana have been linked to Brighton and Hove Albion fullback Tariq Lamptey and Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah, both are eligible to play for England. Akonnor confessed that he is holding talks with Nketiah’s parents in a bid to lure the forward over to become a Black Star.
Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams is also eligible to play for Ghana but currently he’s a Spanish youngster, it remains to be seen if he turns out for the Blalck Stars.
Ghana have had players who were in the diaspora formerly as they succeed in wooing the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Emmanuel Frimpong and Adam Larsen Kwarasey who all turned out for the Black Stars in recent times.