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Club News

UMOTONG EARNS NIGERIA CALL-UP

20 February 2018

Geoff Penn
Ini Umotong

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Ini Umotong expressed her pride after being called up to the latest Nigeria squad for a friendly tournament in Turkey next week.

Umotong will link up with the Super Falcons for the Turkish Women’s Cup - Alanya 2018, and she was delighted to receive international recognition once again.

She said, “It was a feeling of shock, excitement and anxiousness. I was so excited, as I’ve been waiting for a call-up for a long time and it was really emotional.

“The new coach Thomas Dennerby emailed me, and my heart stopped a bit when I found out that it had all been confirmed.

“My family were very happy and proud once they found out, and I’m so pleased with how it’s all turned out.”

The 23-year-old has one senior cap to date and explained how playing internationally differs to club football.

“I’ve been called up twice before. I have one official cap and I was called up to the Nigeria squad for the World Cup in 2015, but didn’t make any appearances.

“It was definitely the best experience of my career so far and I just turned 21 at the time. I played against Mali in Mali for my debut in February 2015.

“The playing style is completely different, but I loved it as it was really fast-paced and physical. It was a playing style I adapted to and took back to my playing club. I learned so much being around that standard.”

The Albion striker holds dual nationality and is also eligible to play for England, but explained how Nigeria was the more viable option to pursue her international aspirations.

“I was born in Nigeria and I came over to the UK as a one year old, so I have dual nationality and two passports.

“The thought was always there [to play for England]. I was called up to a couple of youth camps at under-15 level, so I always had the possibility to play for England.

“But Nigeria suited my playing style more, as they’re very direct and physical, so it just felt right to play for Nigeria.”


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