Oluwatobiloba Olanrewaju favoured to represent Nigeria after new Fifa eligibility rules

The world’s governing body made changes to criteria of nationality switch and the Nigerian born Equatorial Guinean can benefit from this

Racing Santander defender Oluwatobiloba Olanrewaju now stands a bright chance of playing for Nigeria following the latest changes to eligibility rules proposed by Fifa, Goal can exclusively report.

The new rule will allow players to switch eligibility if they played at most three times for the first team – including tournaments and qualifying games, before turning 21, and at least three years earlier.

The 25-year-old had been initially called up to the Nigerian women’s side twice, first in 2014 by then-handler Edwin Okon in the build to the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Namibia.

The second was by erstwhile coach Thomas Dennerby in preparation for the 2019 Wafu Women’s Cup in Cote d’Ivoire as part of the West Africans’ build-up to that year’s Women’s World Cup.

However, the Nigerian-born defender was later dropped from the list on the two occasions, having confirmed she had already turned out at international level for Equatorial Guinea.

Olanrewaju with Dorine and Boho

Olanrewaju with Dorine and Boho

She was ruled out then as a player and could only switch nationalities if they had played in friendlies and not a single minute of any competitive match, which included qualifiers and tournaments.

In Goal’s investigation, Olanrewaju featured twice for the Nzalang Nacional, with her first in a 2-2 draw at home against Cote d’Ivoire in the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier on June 7, 2014.

Her second came in the first leg of the 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers against South Africa at Makhulong Stadium, Johannesburg, where the two teams played out a 0-0 draw on October 3, 2015.

Olanrewaju will now be eligible under these new requirements as she was 20 at the time when she represented Equatorial Guinea and has not played since then for the two-time African champions.

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