With the victory over Egypt, the three-time African champions put an end to a difficult period in their campaign and may have won over another England-born footballer.
Nathan Tella, a Southampton midfielder, believes he is ready to represent his country at the international level and has admitted that it would be a ‘dream’ to represent Nigeria in the national team’s famous green and white colors.
The ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon may have played a significant role in the 22-year-decision old’s to make such a significant life change, according to some reports.
With Egypt’s captain Mohamed Salah enjoying widespread popularity in the Premier League, many Premier League watchers tuned in to Nigeria’s first group game of the championship, where the Liverpool star was expected to run riot in Garoua.
The Super Eagles, on the other hand, became the darling of many after putting on an outstanding display to shock the seven-time African champions and their iconic talisman.
Despite his commitments to Southampton, Tella admits he has been keeping an eye on the Afcon because of Nigeria and his teammate Moussa Djenepo, who was in action as Mali defeated Tunisia despite a number of refereeing errors.
Tella, who was born in England to Nigerian parents, is eligible to play for the Nigerian national team.
Because he has never represented any of England’s youth teams, the versatile forward will not be subjected to any of the change of nationality procedures that prevented Ademola Lookman from qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Tella is motivated by the exploits of Che Adams, who represented Scotland at the Euros last year, and believes that playing for his country will help him become a better player overall.
According to Tella, who spoke to HampshireLive, “I would love to play international football.”
“That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. The fact that I would be going away with Nigeria would be something different, and new experiences bring out the best in athletes.
I notice that Che has matured as a player since returning from Scotland when I look at him. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do so and return as a more mature individual.
“Whatever happens in the future, I’m just concerned with being here and, yes, with trying to score goals and contribute to the team’s success and advancement.” ”
“I’m always keeping an eye on the African Football Confederation,” he continued. I’m Nigerian, so I’m always trying to concentrate and pay attention to the games.
“Understandably, whenever any of my teammates (Moussa Djenepo, Mali) are deployed, I am extremely interested in how they are doing.
“I’m glad he won yesterday, despite the outcome, but it was good that he was able to do so, and I wish him the best of luck going forward.”
Tella has played in a variety of positions for Southampton this season, ranging from striker to right-back. His versatility could prove to be an asset to the national team’s management.
To get a callup to the Super Eagles, however, would be difficult due to the fact that the former Afcon champions have quality players in nearly every department, particularly in attack.