Liverpool winger, Jordan Ibe, has made a very crucial decision in his fledgling football career – choosing between the country of his parents, Nigerian and the country of his birth, England.
He has supposedly made the decision based on the fact that there are international competitions on the horizon for England and Nigeria.
Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh revealed this on Twitter on Sunday, “Jordan Ibe’s family informed me by telephone call, that he [Jordon] was giving priority to an England call. We wish him well.”
So it seems Hibe (as the English have been pronouncing his surname) has made a decision for England but he is yet to play in any competitive match for the Three Lions and that is why this is appealing to him to make a turnaround before the decision kills him – literally.
Taking decision on one’s future should build on the lessons of today and of the past. He should look at the wrong decisions made by some hugely talented individuals like Sidney Sam, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Patrick Owomoyela and Dennis Aogo and rethink his decision.
Ibe has had a lot of advice on which country to choose over the other. The new Super Eagles coach, Oliseh, already had his say and England manager, Roy Hodgson, said over the weekend that he expected the 19-year-old to choose England over Nigeria – maybe he got a phone call from the family before making that confident statement.
So as they say in business circles, the two brands made their pitches and it was left to the lad and his family to come to a decision
Sam would have appeared for Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup if he had made the right decision but he opted for Germany and was left at home after he was named in Germany’s 30-man provisional squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by Joachim Low. But that was as far as he got. Two inconsequential friendlies and his national career is as good as gone. His club career has also been on a downward spiral ever since.
Agbonlahor was called to the Flying Eagles in 2006 but he refused the call and later decided to play for England U-21s. He was then left at home for the U-21 European Championship – a sign of things to come, but he did not learn. He finally earned his first cap for England in 2008 and won two more caps. And that was the end. He has never represented England at any Championship and at 28-years-old, time is slowly running out. What might have been if he had decided for Nigeria?
Another Germany-based player, who wrongly chose the country of his birth over that of his parents. Owomoyela was in his prime when Nigeria beckoned in 2004, but he chose Germany. He played in 11 friendly matches and that was that. He could have been a part of that majestic Super Eagles team that won the Olympic gold medal.
Arguably, Aogo would still be the left-back for the Super Eagles if he had thoroughly weighed the pros and cons. He made a decision for Germany in 2010 and he is surely regretting it today.
But look at Victor Moses for direction…
The example of Victor Moses is there for him to observe. Having been dropped from the England U-21 side in 2011, he made a mover over to Nigeria. Since then he has won the 2014 Nations Cup and appeared at the World Cup. Victor Anichebe is another player, who would still be trudging around England without being recognised but he has a silver medal from the Olympics to show his children even if he never wins any title in his club career.
England are through to the 2016 European championships while Nigeria are stepping up preparations to get through to the football event of the 2016 Olympics, that is coming up in Brazil and this is just another one of these pitches but this one is made based on what has gone on before this time and nothing teaches more about the future than the past.
Ibe, in making your decision, ask about the experiences of the players mentioned above as they were in your shoes at a point in their (then) blossoming careers.
These players got their fingers burnt by choosing their country of birth over Nigeria – a very favourable decision they seemed to have made at that time.
So having gone through this list, Ibe still has time on his side and he should critically look again to make a decision or revision that he will not regret when he is about hanging up his boots.
Ibe should get on board the platform of the Super Eagles and get the real chance of playing and winning the Africa Cup of Nations Cup, trying for the Olympics and appearing at the World Cup.
Ibe, look and learn. There are many that have gone down this well-worn road and have come to regret it. Do not think you will get ahead of players like Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. You will only be used and then discarded.
Even though Hodgson has stated, “My attitude for this is quite clear – I want players who want to play for England. I am not going to start making players English by giving them a few minutes in games.
“I want Jordon to fight for his place in the team like everybody else … if we do call him up it won’t be because we are worried about other nations.”
That is story for the Gods, Ibe. Right now, there is no player blocking your progression in the Super Eagles, where you will be feted like a hero.
Before the 2014 World Cup, 237 players changed national affiliation and 24 of them participated in the World Cup.
A word is enough for the wise!