There are a number of players of African descent who have chosen to play for European national teams rather than represent their African nations. Leadership Friday Sport examines 10 of these players and the national teams they would have played for under a different set of circumstances.
Angelo Ogbonna – Italy vs Nigeria
The defender was born in Cassino, Italy, to Nigerian parents and
could therefore choose whether to play international football for either
the Azzurri or the Super Eagles. He chose to defend goal for the
country of his birth, and Nigeria lost out on a very talented
26-year-old with a bright future ahead of him.
Jerome Boateng – Germany vs Ghana
The half-brother of Kevin-Prince Boateng chose to represent the
German national team rather than the Black Stars of Ghana, as his
sibling did. Born in Berlin, both Jerome and Kevin played for Germany at
youth level, and excelled, but the younger of the two remained loyal to
his German birth while his former AC Milan midfielder brother
represented Ghana at the 2010 World Cup. A talented defender with the
ability to play on the wing, Jerome Boateng was an important element in
the 2014 World Cup winning German national team.
Blaise Matuidi – France vs Angola
France international Matuidi had the choice of representing Angola if
he preferred, due to the fact that his father was born in Angola before
meeting his French mother. The strong midfielder has been breaking up
opposing attacks for Les Bleus, deciding that the country of his birth
deserved his service above that of his father’s routes.