The President of the Nigerian Football Association, Amaju Pinnick, has stated that he believes he can convince future stars including Liverpool prodigy Ovie Ejaria and Bristol City loanee Tammy Abraham to choose Nigeria over England when it comes to their international futures.
Pinnick revealed his masterplan, as per Complete Sports Nigeria, to scoop up young Nigerians with dual nationality playing across Europe, in the hope of building a competitive team in time for World Cup 2022.
Tammy Abraham has now scored 12 goals in just 15 games for club and country (U21s) so far this season. Exceptional talent. pic.twitter.com/1DVXNcMm21— NextGenFootball (@NextGenFootbal) October 11, 2016
"The initial plan was to take our players in the various clubs, but now we do what is known as VIP scouting - talking to these players that are playing abroad to play for their fatherland," Pinnick revealed.
"[ADO Den Haag defender] Tyrone Ebuehi did not say he won't play for Nigeria, but his agent wants him to settle [at] his new club first.
"If you talk about Tammy Abraham, he is like my son, his father and I grew up in the same neighborhood. So when they talk about [the prospect of] him [playing for Nigeria], I just laugh because I know what to do."
Pinnick is also confident of his salesmanship when it comes to Liverpool's 19-year-old midfielder Ejaria.
"As for Ovie Ejaria, I talk with [his] father often, he just called me recently. These are people we have met and they are all excited about Nigeria."
Ovie Ejaria with a stand out performance for the U23s yesterday. Interesting that he was used central, with Brannagan moved to the left.— Jack Sear (@JackSear) November 21, 2016
"I am yet to see a Nigerian that regretted being a Nigerian. No Nigerian. Even if they have four or five passports, they are always excited about being Nigerians. I can assure you that we will get [Abraham and Ejaria] to play for us at the appropriate times" Pennick stated.
Despite having stated his intention to play for Nigeria, the homeland of his parents, in the past, Ejaria has so far made three appearances for England Under 20s, scoring two goals.
Meanwhile, Abraham, who is on loan at the City Ground from Chelsea, made his England Under 21 bow earlier this season, and has found the net twice in his two appearances for the Young Lions.