Torino Midfielder Joel Obi: I Rejected Italian National Team To Play For Nigeria
Published: April 14, 2018
Torino Midfielder Joel Obi: I Rejected Italian National Team To Play For NigeriaTorino attacking midfielder Joel Obi has revealed that he rejected an approach to play for Italy at international level as he wanted to represent Nigeria where he was born.

Five years after turning down the Italian Football Federation request, Obi was handed his Super Eagles debut by Samson Siasia in the national team's 2-1 win over Sierra Leone at the National Stadium in Lagos in February 2011.

''With my family we try to speak Igbo at home but I prefer speaking Italian. When I get to Nigeria I speak broken English and with my Igbo friends I prefer to speak Igbo,'' Obi told
Kwese Sports.

''All my life, style was in Italian football. When I was 14 or 15 years, I had the opportunity to play for the Italian youth team but I waited because I believe I am from Nigeria and I have to play for my fatherland.

''Finally I got the call from the Super Eagles and I was very happy. I was only focused on Nigerian national team.''

Obi was recalled to the national team after a four-year absence for the pre-World Cup friendlies against Poland and Serbia last month and was named in the starting line-up for both matches.

Ifeanyi Emmanuel