The trend for African players to ditch their country of origin for a European national team is becoming a phenomenon. Recent actions show that accepting a European national team call up fascinates African players. It has given concern to most football authorities in Africa. These officials often come to Europe, persuading players to play for their country of origin.
Although this seems like the widespread practice among present African players, it never used to be. In the past, great players like George Weah, Austin Jay Jay Okocha and Didier Drogba resisted the urge. They chose to represent their countries of origin rather than countries where they plied their trade. Unfortunately, we cannot say that about the present crop of young African players.
As a matter of fact, there are many reasons necessitating this movement. Top on the list is poor administration and lack of infrastructures in these African countries. One cannot rule out the existence of these obstacles and more. In the end, is it always worth the try?
In the meantime, the Spanish national team has released a list of 25 players. They will prosecute their September Euro nations cup qualifiers. Prominent on the list are the two African players who play for Barcelona and Wolves. The players are Ansu Fati and Adama Traore.
Furthermore, Adama Traore is eligible to represent Mali and Spain. He reportedly said in January that he is yet to make up his mind which country to represent. The Wolverhampton wanderers winger was buying time to get another call up from Spain. He failed to show up when called up by Spain last year due to an injury he sustained. Expectedly, the fast-paced winger will make his debut for La Roja and say farewell forever to the Malian National team.
In another development, the winger has become a nightmare for Premier League defenders. He scored six goals and provided 12 assists in 54 appearances across all competitions in the 2019-20 season. He also put up several other dazzling displays. In the past, Traore has represented the Spanish U21 national team.
In addition to Traore, another player is Ansu Fati. He was born in Guinea-Bissau. He never played for the African country, so the Spanish government granted him citizenship in September. The grant will enable him to feature for the European side without questions about his nationality. The 17-year-old Barcelona forward will expectedly feature for the U21 team.
The two players are just the recent switch of allegiance by African players. While this is an unwelcome development, it will be a wake-up call to Africans. Their Governments and football associations have to step up their game.