The Nigeria Football Federation, sports ministry, and head coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr are currently in an all-out search for foreign-born talents to beef up team, according to multiple reports in the country.
The brightest of these mostly young players are reluctant to commit to Nigeria as the eye opportunities with their host countries, but the Nigerian football leadership has launched a global charm offensive in a bid to convince them to adopt the Super Eagles.
The Guardian, quoting an unnamed NFF source, has claimed that Chelsea of England teen forward Dominic Solanke (pictured) would make his debut for the Super Eagles in a friendly match against Senegal in March. The 19-year-old Reading-born star, who has played for England at the U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-21 levels, has in the past turned down overtures from Nigeria.
Others being courted include Bournemouth forward Jordon Ibe, former Germany U-20 skipper Kelvin Akpoguma, Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom, Austria junior international Karim Onisowo and Chelsea right-back Ola Aina.
Manchester City defender Tosin Adarabioyo has already turned down a chance to play for the Super Eagles, according to Allnigeriasoccer.com who quote a Team Nigeria UK chief David Doherty as saying: “We have approached Tosin several times to play for Nigeria but I think he is very committed to his England experience now.
However we are hopeful we will get a positive response from him soon as we are monitoring every progress of him, he added of the player whose older brother had turned down a chance to play for the Samson Siasia-led U-23s in 2014.
Doherty also said he has recommended over 25 names to the NFF, including rising forward Ademola Lookman who plays for the third-tier of English football with Charlton Athletic.
We have put down names of those players to the Nigeria Football Federation as potential call ups, over 25 names for now playing well in their various clubs, he told the same website.
But at present Lookman is enjoying and focusing on England call ups, he is at the European U-19s.
Ibe, who had also turned down Nigeria in the past, is now believed to be open to the idea, with the Vanguard recently quoting a source close to the NFF as saying: Jordon is willing to listen to what we have to offer.
We are hoping he finds the project enticing enough to dump England where he is a youth international and play for Nigeria at senior level.
Recently Dutch-born Tyronne Ebuehi, who plays for ADO Den Haag, was called up for the World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Uyo, but the 20-year-old defender turned down the invitation saying he needed to focus on developing his club career first.
There have however been some success stories, most notably the pair of central defenders Leon Balogun, German-born, and Dutch-born William Troost-Ekong, as well as Arsenal of England star Alex Iwobi, who have become key members of the Super Eagles.