Kevin Akpoguma ‘incredibly proud’ to make Nigeria switch

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TSG Hoffeinheim defender Kevin Akpoguma has confirmed his switch of allegiance from Germany – his country of birth – to Nigeria.

Born in Neustadt to a German mother and a Nigerian father, Akpoguma had previously represented Germany at several youth levels but is yet eligible to play for the Super Eagles as he has not featured for the senior team of the European giants in any competitive game.

“It (the switch) is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” the 25-year-old told Hoffeinheim’s official website.

“I am now at an age where I have already gained experience at European level with TSG and feel ready to play for my homeland.

“It makes me incredibly proud and I am positively excited. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the team.”

The center-half already has a Nigerian passport and now awaits clearance from FIFA to qualify him to feature for the Eagles.

Last week, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr announced the player’s switch, revealing his role in helping convince him.

“I had a good conversation with him and his family while watching several games in Hoffenheim,” the German gaffer told BBC Sport.

“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.”

Akpoguma isn’t part of the Nigeria squad billed to play two international friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia in October, but it’s expected that the defender will be making his debut in Nigeria’s double-header against Sierra Leone come November.

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

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

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