12 Footballers Who Chose Africa Over Europe

23 March, 2022
12 Footballers Who Chose Africa Over Europe
Ahead of the all-important third-round qualifying matches for African nations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, here are 12 footballers who decided to play for African countries over European nations.

Although Gabon are not one of the 10 African sides still in contention to compete at the tournament in Qatar, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is among the most famous players to have chosen to play for a nation from the African continent when he perhaps had other options.

The 32-year-old, who has been on fire for Barcelona since his January exit from Arsenal, was born in France, but ultimately decided to represent Gabon, for whom he made his debut in 2009. Aubameyang's father, whose first name is also Pierre, made 29 appearances for the Panthers between 1985 and 1998, with his son deciding to follow in his footsteps despite previously being eligible for Les Bleus.
While an opportunity to play for France might have come long after 2009, it is difficult to imagine that his exploits for clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Barcelona over the course of his career would not have caught the attention of the French Football Federation.

His club teammate Ez Abde, who was often called upon by Xavi Hernandez during an injury crisis earlier this year, has opted to accept a call-up by Morocco ahead of their third-round qualifying clashes against DR Congo this month after initially declaring his dream to play for Spain.

The 20-year-old, though, has reportedly gone back on those plans as Morocco presents him with an opportunity to be fast-tracked on to the international stage and star at the World Cup this year, whereas the process might have been slower with La Furia Roja.

Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly was born in France and might have been a strong option for Didier Deschamps had he not chosen to star for the Lions of Teranga, and the same applies to Riyad Mahrez, who made his senior debut for Algeria in 2014.

England-born winger Ademola Lookman, meanwhile, was recently granted permission to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria, and is currently preparing to go up against Ghana this month.
Source: www.soccerladuma.co.za
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