The long-awaited World Cup Qatar 2022 kicked off yesterday, November 20, 2022, with 32 teams, including the host country, Qatar, competing in the tournament.
Played every four years, except in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II, the tournament has become one of the world’s favorite and most-watched games since its inception in 1930.
Though the Super Eagles of Nigeria did not make it to the World Cup Qatar 2022, several players of Nigerian descent were in attendance at the world’s biggest football festival, having been included in the squads of other countries.
Here are some of the Nigerian-born stars assumed to be at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
One of the most gifted young players in the world today, Jamal Musiala has already won 17 caps for Germany at just 19 after only making his international debut in 2021.
A Chelsea academy product, Musiala was eligible to play for Nigeria (through his father), England, and Germany.
The wonderkid represented the youth teams of the two European countries at different times. But Musiala finally decided for the four-time world champions.
The Bayern Munich star could be crucial to any height Germany attain in Qatar.
Born to a Nigerian father and Romanian mother, Germany took advantage of the fact that Karim Adeyemi was born in Munich to integrate the youngster into their youth system.
Regarded as a generational talent, Adeyemi won the 2019 Fritz Walter award for the best youngster in Germany.
Only last year, the former Salzburg forward led Germany to victory at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
And the Nationalelf will hope Adeyemi can help inspire another title triumph in Qatar.
Noah Arinzechukwu Okafor
Noah Okafor was born in Binningen, Switzerland, to a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother. Okafor’s talent was spotted when he was with the Basel youth academy, and the forward had been a part of the Swiss youth system since the under-15s.
The Salzburg winger made his debut for Switzerland in 2019. And his spot in Qatar was sealed last November when he scored a goal in the win over Bulgaria that secured automatic qualification for Switzerland to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Manuel Obafemi Akanji
Also born to a Swiss mother and a Nigerian father, Manuel Akanji could have been playing for the Super Eagles. But the Neftenbach-born center-back’s progression from the Swiss youth teams to the national side was completed in 2017.
And after amassing 43 international caps for the Red Crosses, Akanji is one of the most experienced heads in the Swiss camp in Qatar.
And the Manchester City defender will target a repeat of the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals, where his team finished fourth.
Samuel Ayomide Adekugbe
Born in England to parents with Nigerian heritage and raised in Canada, Samuel Adekugbe could have played for any of the three countries.
But Canada handed Adekugbe a chance at the youth level and included him in their squad for the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be Adekugbe’s first appearance at football’s biggest fiesta.
Bukayo Ayoyinka Saka
Considered one of the best young football players in the world, Bukayo Saka’s aim in Qatar will include making amends for his penalty miss in the final of last year’s European Championship.
Winner of Arsenal’s Player of the Season award over the last two seasons, Saka heads to his first World Cup with more experience than many within his age bracket.
The 21-year-old winger could have been representing Nigeria, though, through his parents.
Iké Dominique Ugbo
Ike Ugbo was eligible to represent Nigeria (through his parents), England (through birth), and Canada (through youth residency).
The Chelsea academy product helped England U20 win the 2017 Toulon Tournament.
But in September 2021, Ugbo made public his decision to play international football for three-time African champions, Nigeria.
A couple of months later, though, the 24-year-old forward made a u-turn and instead switched his international allegiance to Canada.
And after only making eight appearances for the Reds without scoring a goal, Ugbo was included in Canada’s squad for Qatar 2022.
And the Troyes star will look to help the Canadians make it past the group stage for the first time in World Cup history.