Southgate sets his sight on Saka

The England manager Gareth Southgate disappointed many Nigerian football fans by inviting the duo of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori to his Three Lions squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
The crux of the matter was that the players born of Nigerian parents were not deemed good enough by the same England that refused to consider them for the Euro 2016 tournament and the 2018 World Cup.

It is understandable if the argument of the English fans is that the players were born and raised in England (and Canada in the case of Tomori) but in the end, blood is bigger than the passport.

In the aftermath of the controversial inclusion of Tomori and Abraham to the England squad, Southgate is reportedly interested in having Saka play for England instead of Nigeria.

Bukayo Saka recently rejected being tagged ‘British Nigerian’ but that he should be referred to as Nigerian. His declaration must hurt so much for the England head coach Southgate who said the following about the Arsenal young forward.

“We’ve got Callum Hudson-Odoi (of Ghanaian descent) coming through and other players are emerging so quickly.

“You’ve got Bukayo Saka at Arsenal just dipping his toes in the first team as well. So, we’ve got really good  players, we need more than three (apparently in reference to Abraham, Tomori and Hudson Odoi). I’ve always said in tournaments that I played in that we always pinned our hopes on one player or two players,” Southgate said.

Saka has represented England at the youth levels Tomori who had hitherto not called up to the senior national team, Three Lions.

That is same with Bukayo Saka whom Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr surprisingly said changing allegiance to play for Nigeria could be difficult.

Well, the call up to the England squad for Tomori and Abraham  has shown that Saka who has never played for England at the senior level can be in the Super Eagles’ side to prosecute the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and 2022 World Cup qualification campaigns.

England may have nicked Abraham and Tomori but the Nigeria Football Federation and Rohr must deliver Saka, Folarin Balogun, Xavier Amechi, Arthur Okonkwo, Miguel Azeez etc for both the Super Eagles, U-23 Eagles and the other youth teams.

The boys were only developed as they claim for and by their clubs in England where they earn their wages for offering their services.

Saka has spoken, let the NFF and Rohr win this for Nigeria otherwise posterity may not forgive them. The NFF must ‘deliver’ Saka for Nigeria to douse some recent tension caused by the ICPC investigation.