List of Players Who Played for European Countries' Junior National Teams Now Featuring at AFCON 2023

List of Players Who Played for European Countries' Junior National Teams Now Featuring at AFCON 2023

Legit.ng journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 6-year-experience covering sports and football

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire - Some players who played for European countries' junior national teams are currently participating in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.

Legit.ng reports that the world football governing body, FIFA, has relaxed the rules on switching international team allegiance.

AFCON/AFCON 2023/AFCON news
Super Eagles' star attacker, Ademola Lookman (left), is a former England youth international. Photo credits: Visionhaus, Franck Fife
Source: Getty Images

Indeed, there are many examples where footballers have represented a country, even up to the senior level, before later declaring for another country.

Legit.ng writes on athletes who fall into this category and are currently playing at the ongoing 34th edition of AFCON.

1) Gael Kakuta (France/DR Congo)

Former Chelsea wonderkid, Gael Kakuta, who was once described as "the most gifted player of his generation" is part of the DR Congo team currently in the last eight of Ivory Coast 2023.

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Kakuta signed for Chelsea from Lens as a 16-year-old in 2007.

Chelsea's scout at the time, Guy Hillion, encouraged Chelsea to sign the youngster after describing him as "the most gifted player of his generation", and he was drafted into The Blues' Cobham academy set-up.

Kakuta, 32, was a French youth international and has represented the country at all levels.

He switched to the DR Congo national football team in 2017 and has been a constant part of the team ever since.

2) Ademola Lookman (England/Nigeria)

Lookman was born in England to Nigerian parents. He is an England youth international and won the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup with the Young Lions.

Lookman scored three goals in the tournament, two against Costa Rica in the last 16 and one goal against Italy in the semi-finals.

England beat Venezuela 1–0 in the final, to achieve the country's first victory in the final of a global tournament since the 1966 World Cup.

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After rejecting Nigeria's approaches several times, the former Everton and RB Leipzig man finally gave the nod to the Super Eagles in 2022.

He made his debut for the Super Eagles in March 2022, in their scoreless draw with Ghana as part of the third round of the African section of qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

3) Bebe (Portugal/Cape Verde)

Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, universally known as Bebe, was born outside Cape Verde to parents with Cape Verdean heritage.

It took a long while for Bebe, who had played a handful of times on the wing for the under-21s of his native Portugal, to get through FIFA’s bureaucratic procedures to establish his eligibility.

When Manchester United signed Bebe in 2010, then just turning 20, it was a bolt from nowhere. He had played a single season in the Portuguese second division. Legendary United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, had endorsed the transfer almost entirely on the recommendation of his trusted former second-in-command, Carlos Queiroz.

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It was not an easy time to join United due to its rich attack at the time. Bebe would eventually flop at Britain's arguably biggest football clubside.

At the ongoing AFCON, Bebe scored a brilliant free-kick for Cape Verde in their clash with Mozambique. They are currently in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

4) Yahia Fofana

Born in France, Fofana plays for the Ivory Coast national team.

Over the years, he has represented France at U16, U17, U18, and U19 levels.

He has been Ivory Coast's No.1 shot-stopper at AFCON 2023.

What to read about AFCON:

AFCON: Tinubu watches Nigeria vs Cameroon match

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that President Bola Tinubu watched as Nigeria advanced to the quarter-finals of AFCON with a two-nil win over Cameroon on Saturday night, January 27.

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Atalanta's Lookman scored both goals for the Super Eagles as they breezed past rivals Cameroon to reach the AFCON quarter-finals.

Nigeria will play Angola in Abidjan on Friday, February 2, after they (Angola) dispatched Namibia 3-0.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Ridwan Adeola avatar

Ridwan Adeola (Current Affairs Editor) Ridwan Adeola Yusuf is a Current Affairs Editor at Legit.ng and a certified journalist with over 9 years of experience. He edited Politics Nigeria's articles, was the Acting Editor of AllNews Nigeria and Fact-Checking Researcher (Africa Check). He received his HND in Mass Communication from The Polytechnic Ibadan. He received a Certificate of Achievement (Journalism Clinic’s Fix The Leak masterclass, 2021) and also completed Google News Initiative's Advance digital reporting curriculum. Contact him at ridwan.adeola@corp.legit.ng.

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