Rohr: How I Convince Akpoguma To Choose Nigeria Over Germany

September 21, 2020
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Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has revealed how he was able to convince former Germany youth captain Kevin Akpoguma to commit his international future Nigeria.

Akpoguma, 25, who plays for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, has a German mother and a Nigerian father – which qualifies him to play for the Super Eagles.

And, despite 62 Germany caps from under-16 to under-21 level, Akpoguma opted to capitalise on the Fifa rules which allows him to switch allegiances.

“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.

Also Read: Rohr Invites Ejuke, Tijani, Lawal For Super Eagles October Friendlies

“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.”

Since Rohr took charge in August 2016, the number of players born overseas has risen.

Among players who have switched allegiance to Nigeria are Ola Aina, Brian Idowu, Tyronne Ebuehi, Joe Aribo, Maduka Okoye, Kingsley Ehizibue and Cyril Dessers.

And amid Rohr’s excitement about the prospect of working with Akpoguma, he admits that he will have to wait before welcoming him into the Super Eagles fold.

“We are very happy about the decision of Kevin Akpoguma to switch from Germany to Nigeria,” Rohr said.

“Because he played for Germany at youth levels, the process is not finished yet because Fifa must give the authorisation.

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

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

Born in the western town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Akpoguma started his professional career at Karlsruhe SC and also played for Fortuna Düsseldorf.

He was part of the German side that won the 2014 European U-19 Championship.

Also, he captained Germany at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, helping them beat Nigeria 1-0 in the second round.

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