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Meet 8 Irish Players That Are From Nigeria (Photos)

AdoyiGreporter
By AdoyiGreporter | self meida writer
Published 23 days ago - 25292 views

1. Jonathan Afolabi

Jonathan Swanson Afolabi, born 14 January 2000, is an Irish footballer who plays as a striker for Dundee, on loan from Celtic. He has previously been on loan with Dunfermline Athletic.

Born and raised in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Afolabi played his youth football with Shamrock Rovers and St Joseph's Boys before earning a move to the Academy of Premier League club Southampton.

On 21 August 2019, Afolabi joined Scottish Premiership Champions Celtic.

On 27 January 2020, Afolabi signed for Dunfermline Athletic of the Scottish Championship on loan until the end of the season. His debut in senior football came on 1 February 2020, in a 3–2 win away to Queen of the South. He made 6 appearances for the club, scoring 2 goals before the season was ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic

On 29 September 2020, Afolabi joined Dundee on a season-long loan. He scored his first goal for the club at home in the league against Greenock Morton.

Afolabi was born in Ireland to Nigerian parents. Afolabi has played for the Republic of Ireland right up to Under-21 level. On 31 July 2019 he was named in the 2019 UEFA European Under-19 Championship Team of the Tournament.

2. Gavin Bazunu

Gavin Okeroghene Bazunu, born 20 February 2002, is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Rochdale, on loan from Manchester City. He started his career at Shamrock Rovers, making his first team debut in June 2018 at the age of 16, before joining Manchester City in February 2019.

Born in Dublin, Bazunu is of Nigerian descent.

Having come through the academy at Shamrock Rovers, Bazunu made his debut for Rovers' first team on 9 June 2018 in a 5–0 win at home to Bray Wanderers, at the age of 16. Manager Stephen Bradley stated that despite not wanting to 'throw [young goalkeepers] in that early', Bazunu was 'ready' for his first-team debut. He made 3 further appearances for Shamrock Rovfers in the 2018 League of Ireland Premier Division.

On 6 September 2018, it was announced that Bazunu had joined Premier League club Manchester City for an undisclosed fee reported to be £420,000, though a joining date had not been set, with Bazunu wishing to complete his education in the Irish education system. The following month, it was announced he has signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester City, with it initially agreed he would join the club in summer 2019, before it was moved forward to February 2019. He made his debut for Manchester City's under-18 side on 9 February 2019 against Stoke City U18.

Bazunu was named in Manchester City's Champions League squad for a Round of 16 second leg match against Real Madrid in August 2020. He signed a contract extension until 2024 and joined League One side Rochdale on a season-long loan later that month. He started and kept a clean sheet on his debut for Rochdale on 5 September 2020 in a 1–0 EFL Cup victory away to Huddersfield Town, and made his first league appearance the following week in a 3–1 defeat at Swindon Town.

Bazunu has played for the Republic of Ireland at under-17 and under-21 youth levels.

3. Adam Idah

Adam Idah, born 11 February 2001, is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a forward for Championship club Norwich City and the Republic of Ireland national team.

Idah was born in Cork and grew up in the city, attending Douglas Community School. He started playing football with College Corinthians in 2007 at the age of six. He stayed with the Corinthians for 10 years progressing through the youth levels before joining Norwich City as an academy scholar in 2017. In his first season at Norwich Idah played in the Professional Development League in Norwich's Premier League Under-18 side, scoring 9 goals in 15 games. He completed a 10 minute hat-trick against Barnsley in the FA Youth Cup before scoring another hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur in the U18 league. At the end of the season Idah won both the Norwich Under-18 player of the season and the Academy player of the year awards.

During his second season at Norwich, Idah was just as productive in the youth team. He played in the club's under-23 side in Premier League 2, scoring 12 goals in 19 games. At the end of the season Idah was one of the eight nominations for Premier League 2 player of the season. On 4 July 2019 he signed his first professional contract with the club, signing a contract until 2023. In the 2019 pre-season, Idah trained with the first team, and was chosen to be part of Norwich's squad on their pre-season tour to Germany. In the first game of the tour he came on as a substitute in the 2–2 draw with Arminia Bielefeld, starting his first senior game for Norwich three days later in the friendly against Bonner SC, scoring two goals. Idah again featured in Norwich's final game of the tour, coming on as a substitute against Schalke.

Idah made his first senior appearance on 27 August 2019, playing the full 90 minutes as Norwich lost 1–0 to Crawley Town in the EFL Cup. He made his Premier League debut as a substitute against Crystal Palace on 1 January 2020 before starting Norwich's 2019–20 FA Cup third round match at Preston North End on 4 January, making his FA Cup debut. He scored his first professional hat-trick in the match, his third senior appearance for Norwich.

The Republic of Ireland youngster has made a lasting impression under Stephen Kenny and has now been given the green light to play for the seniors.

The youngster only made his Premier League debut for his club on New Year's day against Crystal Palace - coming on as a late sub in the 1-1 draw.

Idah signed his first professional contract with Norwich last summer having impressed on a trial after stand-out displays for College Corinthians in Cork.

He is the Republic of Ireland's under-17 record scorer with fourteen goals in seventeen appearances and has been a stalwart for Stephen Kenny's under-21s - scoring four goals in eleven appearances before earning a call up to the senior side in 2020 for the Uefa Nations League.

Idah was born in Cork to an Irish mother and a Nigerian father and has played at underage level for Ireland since under-16.

4. Michael Oluwadurotimi Obafemi

Michael Oluwadurotimi Obafemi, born 6 July 2000, is an Irish professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Southampton.

Obafemi was born in Dublin to Nigerian parents and was raised in the London area.His older brother Afolabi Obafemi is also a footballer.

Obafemi joined Southampton from Leyton Orient in 2016. Obafemi made his professional debut as a substitute in the 82nd minute of a 1–1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on 21 January 2018. Aged 17 years and 199 days, Obafemi became the second youngest player to make a Premier League appearance for Southampton after Luke Shaw, who was 17 years and 116 days old. He scored his first professional goal with the third goal in a 3–1 victory at Huddersfield on 22 December 2018; at 18 years and 169 days old, he became Southampton's youngest scorer in the Premier League.Obafemi was eligible to represent England, Nigeria, and the Republic of Ireland. However, in November 2018 he committed to the Republic of Ireland.

Obafemi has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-19 level, debuting during the 2019 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualification campaign. On 6 November 2018, Obafemi was named in the senior Republic of Ireland squad for the first time for the friendly against Northern Ireland on 15 November and the UEFA Nations League match against Denmark on 19 November 2018. He came on as a substitute in the second half of the 0–0 draw against Denmark to make his debut. He also became the first player born in the 2000s to win a senior cap for Ireland. Obafemi made his debut for the Republic of Ireland under-21 team on 10 October 2019, coming off the bench and impressing fans and media alike, in a 0–0 draw with Italy under-21's at Tallaght Stadium.

5. Ademipo Ibrahim Odubeko

Ademipo Ibrahim Odubeko, born 21 October 2002, is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club West Ham United.

Odubeko signed his first professional contract with West Ham United in October 2019, rejecting the chance to remain at Manchester United because he felt his chances of first team football would be improved at West Ham. He made his first team debut on 11 January 2021 replacing Michail Antonio in the 90th minute of the FA Cup third round fixture versus Stockport County, a match won 1–0 by the Premier League side.

Odubeko was born in Ireland, and is of Nigerian descent. Odubeko represented the Republic of Ireland’s under-16 side in their successful 2017 Victory Shield campaign. He was selected to play for the Republic of Ireland national under-17 football team in two matches against Finland in March 2019.

6. Chiedozie Ogbene

Chiedozie Ogbene, born 1 May 1997, is an Irish professional footballer who plays for Rotherham United, as a winger.

Born in Nigeria, Ogbene then moved to Ireland with his Nigerian family aged eight. After representing Everton as a youth player, he signed for Cork City in August 2015 and he spent 18 months there, winning the FAI Senior Challenge Cup in 2016.

Limerick was his next destination and he was an ever-present during their 2017 League of Ireland Premier Division campaign, alerting interest from clubs in England, cue Brentford swooping to secure his services in January 2018.

The youngster found it difficult breaking into the Bees' first team and he spent half of last season on loan at Sky Bet League Two Exeter City before making a handful of appearances upon his return to Griffin Park.

He quickly established himself as a fans' favourite during the 2019/20 campaign as the Millers won promotion to the Sky Bet Championship. 

He is eligible to represent both Republic of Ireland and Nigeria at international level. In July 2020, Ogbene approached Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny to declare his wish to play for the national team.

7. Armstrong Okoflex

Armstrong Okoflex, born 2 March 2002, is an Irish professional footballer of Nigerian descent who plays for Scottish Premiership club Celtic as a winger.

Okoflex was born in Dublin and started out playing with one of the countries most famous academies, St Kevin's Boys before being spotted by Arsenal legend and scout Liam Brady, who had also come through the St Kevin's, with Oxoflex then signing for the London club. He joined Celtic on a three-year deal from Arsenal in September 201 it8. He made his first team debut for the club as a substitute against Hibernian in January 2021.

8. Emmanuel Osadebe

Emmanuel Ebuka Osadebe, born 1 October 1996, is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Walsall.

Born and bred in Dundalk to Nigerian parents, Osadebe started out playing for local colts side Bay before being picked up by his hometown League of Ireland club’s academy, helping them win lift the Leinster Youth Cup in 2014.

But he then moved to London and gained a place in the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s education and football development programme at Barnet & Southgate College in 2014, studying for a BTec Level 3 qualification in sport.

Then Gillingham assistant manager David Kerslake was working with the college team as part of the Spurs Foundation scheme and quickly spotted the young midfielder’s potential.

Cambridge United make Gillingham midfielder third summer recruit.

As a result, he was invited to play in four matches for the Gills’ development side and boss Justin Edinburgh was sufficiently wowed by Osadebe’s quality to offer him a professional contract in May 2015. Osadebe was handed his first-team debut in August 2015, being named man of the match in a 4-0 win at home to Sheffield United. He went on to score what would be awarded the Gills’ goal of the season in November 2015 with a wonder strike – his first goal for the club - in a 3-1 victory over Bury, while also being called up to train with the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad. An energetic, box-to-box midfielder, Osadebe went on to make 21 appearances, scoring twice, in his first season with the Sky Bet League One outfit, which was enough to see him earn another one-year contract.

He opened this season with a goal in Gillingham’s first league game, a 3-1 win at Southend, and went on to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the EFL Cup last September, only for the Gills to find themselves on the end of a 5-0 loss. But having been a regular under Edinburgh, who was appointed manager of Northampton Town in January, Osadebe fell out of favour under Ady Pennock, starting just three games under the new boss before being released last week. On 31 May 2017, Osadebe joined League Two side Cambridge United on a two-year deal. On 18 January 2018, Osadebe joined Newport County on loan until the end of the 2017–18 season. He made his debut for Newport five days later against Morecambe as a half-time substitute. His loan arrangement at Newport was terminated on 23 March 2018 and he returned to Cambridge United.

He was released by Cambridge United at the end of the 2018–19 season. In the summer of 2019 he was signed by Macclesfield Town on a one year deal. On 1 February 2020 it was announced that he was one of three players to have left financially troubled Macclesfield during the January 2020 transfer window, following a meeting with the English Football League.

On 3 September 2020, he joined Walsall on a free transfer.

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