Nathan Tella, a recent addition to the Super Eagles, thinks playing for Nigeria against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers would be “a dream come true” for him.
The Super Eagles’ team for their matches in Uyo and Huye, Rwanda, includes the 24-year-old winger from Bayer Leverkusen.
Although born in Lambeth, England, he is eligible for Nigeria through his parents, and since he initially started to make an impression in Arsenal’s junior setup, there has been much discussion over his future on the international scene.
“It’s always been about representing Nigeria,” Tella told BBC Sport Africa.
“My family will be over the moon to watch me fulfill that dream.
“I am proud of my British and Nigerian sides and lucky to have both backgrounds.
Of course, we have both worlds, but ours is a proper Nigerian home [with] culture, food, and tradition.”
“The players in the squad are talented and to compete against them to represent a massive nation like Nigeria is the stuff of dreams,” Tella added.
“Nigeria is undoubtedly one of the biggest in African football and the passion of the fans is on a different level.”
Tella was a star player for Burnley last season as the Clarets won promotion back to the Premier League; however, at the conclusion of the campaign, he was traded to Southampton, his parent club.
With 22 goal contributions in the Championship the previous season, the versatile forward (who can play through the middle or out wide) signed a reputed £20 million contract to join Leverkusen in August.
After ten games, his new team leads the German Bundesliga without a loss. His quickness, dribbling ability, and ability to throw the ball into tight spaces could theoretically provide the Super Eagles an extra offensive dimension.
Following their exclusion from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the West Africans will play Lesotho and Zimbabwe on November 16 and 19, respectively, to begin their 2026 qualification campaign.
With the finals enlarged from 32 to 48 teams, Nigeria is predicted to advance through Group C ahead of nations like South Africa and Benin.
Group winners will also have assured spots in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Tella is predicted to follow in the footsteps of Nigeria, who have successfully included players born in England into their current roster, including Ola Aina, Semi Ajayi, Joe Aribo, and Ademola Lookman.