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Pinnick recalls challenges convincing Lookman, Iwobi, and others to switch allegiance from England to Nigeria

Former President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, has opened up about the challenges he faced in persuading England-based Nigerian players to switch allegiance to the Nigerian national team.

The FIFA Council member from Nigeria revealed that convincing players like Ademola Lookman and Alex Iwobi to represent the Super Eagles was no easy feat during his tenure.

Lookman, who had previously played for England’s youth teams at different levels, made the switch to Nigeria in 2022 and has since become a key player for the team, and was Super Eagles joint top-scorer at the 2023 AFCON with three goals.

In an interview with ThisDay, Pinnick acknowledged the complexities involved in facilitating these player switches, citing political intricacies and family dynamics.

“It was a challenging task bringing players like Ademola Lookman to Nigeria. There were numerous political and family issues to navigate. The same goes for [Alex] Iwobi. But as I always say, football is an ongoing process. I won’t claim credit for bringing them because today they are valuable assets to the federation,” Pinnick explained.

Despite the hurdles, Pinnick stressed the significance of these players to the Nigerian national team, underscoring their contributions to the team’s achievements.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria finished as runners-up in the recently concluded 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, with players like Lookman, Iwobi, Calvin Bassey, and other English-born talents playing crucial roles in Nigeria’s success.

READ ALSO: NFF Initiates contract talks with Super Eagles manager José Peseiro

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