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Akpoguma: Rohr Reveals How He Convinced Former German Player To Switch To Nigeria

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has revealed how he convinced former German youth player Kevin Akpoguma to switch his allegiance to Nigeria.

Akpoguma was born to a German mother and a Nigerian father and has represented the Germany U16, U17, U18, U19, U20 and U20 teams, featuring in more than 60 games.

However, the 25-year-old is still eligible to play for Nigeria since he hasn’t played for the German senior team yet.

The centre-back has been with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim since 2015 and made 18 league appearances for the Kraichgauer last season, helping them to finish sixth in the campaign.

The defender played a prominent role in his side’s opening league game of the 2020-21 season against Koln on Saturday.

“It was not my job to convince [Kevin] Akpoguma to come and play for Nigeria,” Rohr told BBC Sport.

“I had a good conversation with him and his family while watching several games in Hoffenheim.

“After the matches, we met and could talk. I presented our projects and I could speak about the team, about this incredible period in the Super Eagles and my vision for the team.

“He was sold on this and would love to be a part of the team and play in big international competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations or even the World Cup.

“We are very happy about the decision of Kevin Akpoguma to switch from Germany to Nigeria. Because he played for Germany at youth levels, the process is not finished yet because Fifa must give the authorisation.”

Rohr added that Akpoguma could miss the upcoming international friendlies against Ivory Coast and Tunisia in October as he awaits FIFA’s approval.

“He has fulfilled the written request to switch and we only await the good news that he can finally play for us,” Rohr continued.

“It’s too soon to expect him to play our two friendlies in October, but hopefully for the Nations Cup qualifiers in November.”

The likes of Ola Aina, Brian Idowu, Tyronne Ebuehi, Joe Aribo, Maduka Okoye, Kingsley Ehizibue and Cyril Dessers have switched their allegiances to Nigeria since the arrival of Rohr.

Meanwhile, Nigeria leads in group L of AFCON qualifiers with six points after winning against the Republic of Benin and Lesotho.

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