Alex Iwobi Snubbed England to Play for Home Nation of Nigeria After Jay Jay Okocha’s Intervention

Alex Iwobi Snubbed England to Play for Home Nation of Nigeria After Jay Jay Okocha’s Intervention

Byron Pillay
May 13, 2024 at 2:06 PM
In this article:
Alex Iwobi logo
A. Iwobi
Fulham logoFNigeria logo
Fulham logo
Arsenal logo
Nigeria logo
  • Jay Jay Okocha is a legend of Nigerian football and was a star in the English Premier League
  • Alex Iwobi had the chance to represent either Nigeria or England at an international level
  • Okocha explained how he convinced his nephew to snub England and play for the Super Eagles

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Committing to playing for one international football team is not always easy.

Some African players have dual citizenship and can choose to represent a European powerhouse as well.

Alex Iwobi could have represented either Nigeria or England, but chose the Super Eagles because of his uncle, Jay Jay Okocha.
Nigerian legend Jay Jay Okocha convinced his nephew Alex Iwobi to choose Nigeria over England. Image: Carlos Rodrigues/ Eddy Lemaistre.
Source: Getty Images

Fulham’s Alex Iwobi faced that exact predicament, as he could have represented either Nigeria, the land of his birth, or England, where he has spent most of his life. The 28-year-old moved to the European nation at an early age and rose up the ranks at Arsenal, before moving to Everton and then Fulham.

Thankfully for Super Eagles fans, the attacking midfielder was convinced by none other than his uncle, Jay-Jay Okocha, to play for the land of his birth.

The role Okocha played in Iwobi’s decision

As noted by Business Day, one key role played by Okocha was discussing the love and recognition footballers, especially those who played in the English Premier League, received in Nigeria.

Okocha, who made over 70 appearances for the Super Eagles, also turned out in the Premier League for Bolton Wanderers.

With his experience as an international star representing Nigeria, Okocha was the best person to convince Iwobi that the Super Eagles were the best bet.

He also spoke about the pride of donning the green and white jersey.

Iwobi’s stats for Super Eagles

Iwobi has since made 78 appearances for the national side, as per Transfermarkt, scoring 10 goals for the team.

He also featured in every game for Nigeria at the recent Africa Cup of Nations, as the Super Eagles were beaten by hosts Ivory Coast in the final.

Iwobi equals Kanu’s English Premier League record

Sports Brief also reported how Iwobi entered the record books during Fulham’s win over West Ham.

The midfielder, who provided an assist during the 2-0 victory, equalled an Nwankwo Kanu record.

With his one assist in the game, Iwobi equalled Kanu’s record for most assists by a Nigerian in the EPL.

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Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.