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Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 13:25 UK

Nigeria make Cole call-up blunder

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Carlton Cole
Cole has played for England's under-21 side

In a bizarre move, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has called up an ineligible player for their forthcoming 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

West Ham United striker Carlton Cole is in the squad for the games against South Africa in September and Sierra Leone in October.

Cole, who has a Nigerian father and Sierra Leonean mother, has played for England at under-21 level.

But he cannot switch allegiance to Nigeria as he is now 24 years old.

Fifa allows players who have represented one country at junior level to switch to another country.

But the statutes of world football's governing body state that this can only happen if they are still under the age of 21.

Cole, whose full name is Carlton Cole Okirie, was born in England.

In the past, he had apparently been keen on playing for Nigeria, but he accepted an England under-21 call-up when he felt he had been overlooked by the Super Eagles.

Another surprise name included in the 20-man squad released by the NFF is defender Daniel Ola, who holds a Ghanaian passport.

The former Lazio and Chievo player, is now with Italian Serie B club AC Cesena.

Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins, who missed all four first round qualifiers in June due to injury, has been recalled.

After winning all four of their matches so far in their group, Nigeria are have already ensured their place in the second phase of the combined 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Nigeria squad:

Goalkeepers: Greg Etafia (Moroka Swallows, South Africa), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei-Yehuda, Israel)

Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Marseille, France), Obinna Nwaneri (Sion, Switzerland), Joseph Yobo (Everton, England), Yusuf Muhammed (Al-Hilal, Sudan), Danny Shittu (Watford, England), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Daniel Ola (AC Cesena, Italy)

Midfielders: Jon Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Seyi Olofinjana (Stoke City, England), Lukman Haruna (AS Monaco, France), Yusuf Atanda Ayila (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Kalu Uche (Almeria, Spain)

Strikers: Obafemi Martins (Newcastle United, England), Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka (both Portsmouth, England), Emmanuel Okoduwa (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton, England), Carlton Cole (West Ham, England)

see also
Hammers sign Chelsea striker Cole
05 Jul 06 |  West Ham

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