Sierra Leone pick ineligible Nigerian to face Tunisia

Sierra Leone flag

Sierra Leone appear to have selected an ineligible player in their squad for their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final-round qualifying match against Tunisia on 8 September.

Nigerian striker Victor Igbekoyi Kayode was included in the 19-man squad after he showed interest to play for Sierra Leone in June when he was introduced to Leone Stars coach Lars Olof Mattsson by the suspended skipper Ibrahim Kargbo.

The Azerbaijan-based player trained with Leone Stars when the team prepared for their last three games against Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome & Principe respectively.

However, the 25-year-old, who was born in Nigeria but has not been capped by the country of his birth, does not seem to meet any of Fifa's criteria to qualify to play for Sierra Leone.

According to Article 17 of football's world governing body's statutes, a player wishing to acquire a new nationality must fulfil at least one of the following conditions:

  • He was born on the territory of the relevant Association
  • His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association
  • His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association
  • He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) says it is now looking into the matter.

Acting general secretary of the SLFA Abdul Rahman Swarray told BBC Sport: "We included Igbekoyi in the squad at the request of the Leone Stars coach Lars Olof Mattsson but we are carefully studying the situation.

"We'll soon contact Fifa to clarify his status as to whether or not he can play for Sierra Leone."

Apart from Igbekoyi, there are five other uncapped players in the Leone Stars squad for what is a crucial encounter with Tunisia in Freetown.

They are Portsmouth's Mustapha Dumbuya, Gibril Sankoh of German side Augsburg, Sweden-based Mohamed Kamanor, Hassan Sesay who plays in Finland and France-based goalkeeper Solomon Zombo Morris.

Full Sierra Leone squad to face Tunisia:

Goalkeepers: Christian Caulker (FC Kallon), Solomon Zombo Morris (FC Rouen, France)

Defenders: Mustapha Dumbuya (Portsmouth, England), Mohamed Kamanor (Umea FC, Sweden), Gibril Sankoh (Augsburg, Germany), Umaru Bangura (FK Haugesund, Norway), Sheriff Suma (FK Raven, Azerbaijan), Ibrahim Koroma (Trellborgs FF, Sweden)

Midfielders: Alfred Sankoh (Sanliurfaspor, Turkey), Hassan Sesay (MYPHA, Finland), Mohamed Medo Kamara (Partizan Belgrade, Serbia), Khalifa Jabbie (Fredrikstad, Norway), Samuel Barlay (FK Ravan), Julius Woobay (Neftchi FC, Azerbaijan), Mohamed Kallon (FC Kallon)

Forwards: Victor Igbekoyi Kayode (AZAL PFC, Azerbaijan), Alhassan 'Crespo' Kamara (AIK Solna, on loan to Örebro SK of Sweden), Ibrahim Teteh Bangura (Bursaspor, Turkey), Mohamed Bangura (Celtic, Scotland)

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