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Why Nigerian footballer Nedum Onuoha turned down Nigeria’s national call up twice

Nigerian UK-based footballer Nedum Onuoha revealed recently why he turned down the chance to play for Nigerian at an international level on two occasions during his career. Here’s why:

The 35-year-old who was born in Nigeria before moving to Manchester in the UK at the age of 5 and he went on to represent England at the under-20 and under-21 making 23 appearances.

Nedum Onuoha revealed in his autobiography ‘Kicking back’ that he rejected the chance to represent the Nigerian national team twice, firstly in 2008 before the Africa Cup of Nations and again four years later.

Before the release of his autobiography, he had stated that he received criticism from Nigerians for failing to represent his home and that it appeared he was ‘begging’ to play for England instead.

“It’s a big thing to represent England whilst you’re in England, playing in the Premier League. It was a shame that I didn’t manage to do it but then I still played lots of games domestically and I think looking back maybe I would have perceived certain things differently.” wrote quoting the footballer.

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Onuoha admitted that his sentiments were that if he should accept to play for Nigeria it would affect his position at club level with Man-City. At the time he received his second call-up the AFCON tournament was viewed in a negative light by the English and he felt he would jeopardise his position if he decided to heed the call.

Nedum Onuoha said that he wasn’t comfortable falling off the pecking order and this was a fear if he played for Nigeria. He expressed that this would not be the case if a footballer was playing for England or another European nation.

Reflecting on his career, Onuoha admits that he partly regrets not wearing the Super Eagles jersey, adding: “I had been drinking the Kool-Aid and I fell into that mindset, I think I missed that because if in a late part of my career that option would have ever come, I would have gone.