Leverkusen’s Nigerian midfielder, Sydney Sam
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi has grown frustrated in his desire to hand Sydney Sam an international cap, after he learnt that the Leverkusen midfielder cannot communicate in English, the official language of Nigeria.
Sam, who was born in the northern German city of Kiel and is of dual Nigerian and German parentage, was recently reported to be on the wish list of the Nigerian coach.
But we have been told that the plan is encountering a hitch after Nigerian officials were informed that Sam can only speak German and no English.
Keshi is thinking of improving his team in view of the unusually busy schedule ahead, particularly in June, where two World Cup qualifying matches against Namibia and Malawi are on the card for the Eagles, aside the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations reverse qualifier against Rwanda.
Sam, who can also play on the wings, is one of the players widely considered by Keshi who recently gave hint of his plan to travel to Germany to convince the player to make the Nigerian switch.
Though the 24-year old midfielder has already represented Germany at both the U19 and U21 levels, turning up in the Nigerian colours is still a likely proposition, provided he accepts to make the change and is cleared by the international governing body, FIFA.
But language is a matter of concern in the sense that if Keshi succeeds in breaking through the barrier, it will be an issue if Sam eventually joins the Nigerian team, as he will need an interpreter to communicate with his new team mates.
The Sam situation is unusual as there is no known member of the present national team that speaks German.