Karim Adeyemi playing for Nigeria was always a pipe dream

Karim Adeyemi currently represents Germany (IMAGO)

OPINION Karim Adeyemi playing for Nigeria was always a pipe dream

Ayoola Kelechi 23:59 - 16.02.2023

After recent comments, some might get the impression that there was a chance for Adeyemi to play for the Super Eagles, to those people, I say wake up.

Karim Adeyemi has three flags on his Twitter bio page: Germany, Nigeria, and Romania, in that order. It is seemingly innocuous, but it is how the 21-year-old has portrayed himself—first as a German, then as a Nigerian, then as a Romanian. Keep this in mind. 

Despite his fufu-loving ways and his trips to Nigeria and Romania, it has always been ingrained in Adeyemi’s mind that he would one day play for Germany, as it is with most boys who grow up in Munich and get to be as good at football as he is. 

Karim Adeyemi, the Jewel of Germany 

More importantly, it has always been on the German DFB’s mind that Adeyemi would be part of their setup. If you think about it, how many FAs who actually knew about his talents could resist him? 

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By age ten, he was playing in Bayern Munich's youth team and was only let go for non-football reasons. At 16, well before most players start getting tracked by football associations looking to poach players from their country of birth, he was already being touted as the future of the German national team, despite playing outside the country. 

By 19, when most players with dual nationalities are still contemplating the heavy choice before them, he was already the first German player, playing in Austria, to score for the senior national team since the end of the Second World War. 

Karim Adeyemi and Jamal Musiala represent a new generation of German hopes

There were no gaps left by the DFB for any other country to swoop in, and there certainly was no confusion in Adeyemi’s mind about who he wanted to play for or what his primary nationality was. 

Most players born outside Nigeria who eventually choose to represent the Super Eagles, often toe one of two lines, a long wait for acknowledgement from their FA of birth, or they realise early on that the competition for places in the national team will either be too high or too unfair for them ever consistently to be considered members of the national team. 

So, they settled for a fulfilling career in the green and white, humming through a national anthem they struggled to remember, representing a country they “did not mind” playing for. 

A burning desire to play for Germany

For Adeyemi, this was never an option. Not only were his talents recognised early in his career, but he has also been cradled and acknowledged at every turn by Germany’s DFB. 

In response to this, he has always made it clear where his allegiance lies, especially regarding his international career. Germany first. 

Karim Adeyemi won UEFA U21 championship with Germany

Twice a recipient of the Fritz Walter Medal, given to the most prodigious German player in the World by the German Football Association, it has scarcely been in doubt, at least in honest minds, where Adeyemi would pitch his international tent. 

Before most people in this part of the world even knew his name, Adeyemi had already been identified as one of Germany’s top talents, as a 16-year-old playing for Austrian second-division side Liefering, a little outside the reaches of even the most well-meaning scouts of other interested parties. 

By the time he was 17, he won his first Fritz Walter Award as the best German player at the u17 level, and in his reaction to winning the award, he made it clear that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of previous award winners like Timo Werner, Leon Goretzka, Emre Can, and Mario Götze. 

“I want to achieve what these players have already achieved. That is why this award makes me very proud and is also a great motivation to continue on my path.” He said after receiving the award. 

As a teenager Karim Adeyemi scored on his Germany debut

He went on to explain exactly what path he was talking about, saying, “Many successful footballers who play in the national team today have also received this award.”

He even went as far as letting everyone know where his Nigerian father and Romanian mother stood concerning his choice of nationality. 

Karim Adeyemi

“One day I want to play for the national team. Playing for the national team is always a great honour. It is always special for my family to see me play in the national team jersey. It motivates me enormously when I am invited to the national team and can play for Germany.” He concluded. 

You see, for Adeyemi, Germany is not a country that he represents out of a need to have an international career; it is one that he represents out of a burning desire to be like the idols he grew up watching as a boy in Munich. 

For him, it has always been, and will most likely always be Germany, then Nigeria, then Romania.  

So when the chance came to play for Germany, it was a no-brainer. A talented teenager for whom the country already cheered, he could never have been tempted by any other proposition. 

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