KAA Gent defender, Jordan Torunarigha, has officially declared his allegiance to the Nigeria national football team, Goalball Live gathers.
The 25-year-old Belgian-based defender has been in the crosshairs of the Nigeria Football Federation since his days at Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga. He has now set his sights on representing Nigeria at the 2026 FIFA World Cup set to hold in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
Torunarigha, son of former Nigeria Super Eagles player Ojokojo Torunarigha, wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as the Nigeria national team prepares to enter an era of dominance with its high-flying talent.
Gent left back, Jordan Torunarigha has decided to play for the Super Eagles like his father after he hoped to play for Germany.
Former coach, Rohr tried to convince him then. pic.twitter.com/8LgznlB1nE
— POOJA!!! (@PoojaMedia) June 12, 2023
Torunarigha submits change of nationality documents to FIFA, claims decision is long in the making
Jordan Torunarigha was born in Chemnitz, Germany while his father Ojokojo, played for Chemnitzer FC. He started his career with his father’s old club and moved to Hertha Berlin in 2006, where he developed as a footballer.
There, he caught the eye of the German football governing body and was selected to feature for their various national team youth sides. From 2012 to 2021, Torunarigha played for the Germany national team's youth sides in various tournaments, including the Olympic Games in 2021.
In the course of his youth team career, he was approached by the then-manager of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr. Torunarigha turned down the request, however, and would reveal that he did so because he had no knowledge of Nigeria, her peoples and the culture. He is now more educated and sees himself slotting into the team, leading to his application to the global football governing body FIFA for a change of nationality.
🇳🇬 A quick look at a potential option for Nigeria to steady the unstable @NGSuperEagles backline ahead of AFCON 2023 next year.
Enter, Jordan Torunarigha 🪨pic.twitter.com/op2Bbr4Q7c
— HF (@hfworld_) June 12, 2023
Speaking to journalists, per German football website Ran, Torunarigha claims that he and his family have been pondering the decision to switch for a long time. “I have given it a lot of thought,” revealed Torunarigha. “My father has already played for the Nigerian national team, so I’m really happy that I can follow in his footsteps now. My goal is to be part of the Nigerian team at the 2026 World Cup.”
“Juju made me stop my son from representing Nigeria,” Ojokojo Torunarigha says
Jordan Torunarigha is a defender who has been described as a defender with great positional sense and the ability to read attacking plays. Standing at 6 ft 3 in, he will be one of the taller centre-backs in the Super Eagles if he gets called up at some point in the future.
His debut with the AFCON 2023 title hopefuls could have come soon but his father, Ojokojo, once stated that wariness of supernatural powers, popularly known as ‘juju’ in Nigeria, made him block his son’s path to the Nigeria national football team.
Own Goal Nigeria cites a source close to Ojokojo, who played with several clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) before his move to Germany as saying, “I spoke with his father Ojokojo who was my teammate at JIB Rocks and he told me that he is scared of his son coming to the camp at that age because of the juju scare in the camp of the team.
“Considering he is very young, he might struggle to cope mentally. I think he is grown now and that shouldn’t be an issue.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago