Noah Okafor: 9 things to know about Switzerland player who celebrated with Nigerian flag

Noah Okafor plays as a forward for an Austrian club

Noah Okafor: 9 things to know about Switzerland player who celebrated with Nigerian flag

Akan Anwankwo 11:11 - 31.05.2023

Swiss forward Noah Okafor was dragged on social media after he celebrated with a Nigerian flag.

Noah Okafor was on the news for the right and wrong reasons when his club Red Bull Salzburg won the league in the past week.

The 23-year-old played a key role in Salzburg winning the Admiral Bundesliga as he posted a photo of himself wrapped in a Nigerian flag while holding the league shield on social media.

The Swiss fans then turned on him for identifying himself as a Nigerian having pledged his allegiance to Switzerland.

Here are 9 things to know about Okafor

Noah Okafor |
Noah Okafor

1. He's of Nigerian descent

Noah Okafor was born to a Nigerian father named Christian and a Swiss mother. 

The youngster identifies himself as Igbo, one of the three major tribes in Nigeria.

The name “Arinze,” a short form of "Arinzechukwu" features on Noah Okafor’s Instagram page. 

Interestingly, the Switzerland player does not know the meaning of Arinze. He only sees it as a “cool” name.

2. He could have represented Nigeria 

Noah revealed in an exclusive interview with Pulse Sports that his father left the options open to him to either play for Nigeria or Switzerland.

“Oh, my dad is always on my side,” Okafor said.

“He supports my decisions. If I had said I want to play for Nigeria, he would have said, ‘OK, let’s try it and do the best to support you’ and he would have pushed me.”

However, he chose to play for the Swiss national side.

 While shedding more light on his decision, he said it was because he understands their culture.

3. A career-threatening injury early on

Noah Okafor |
Noah Okafor fractured his 5th metatarsal bone during a match

At the tender age of 15, he suffered a serious injury that kept him out of the beautiful game he loves for six months. 

Fortunately, he recovered fully and returned to action thereafter with his clubside.

4. First Professional Contract

Noah Okafor |
Noah Okafor signed for Basel in 2018

He signed his first professional contract when he was still a teenager.

The Swiss youngster was just 18 years old when he put pen to paper on a deal with his boyhood club Basel.

 Noah Okafor would later leave the Swiss side two years later after another top club came looking for him.

5. Love and Admiration for Xhaka

The 23-year-old revealed that his role model is the Swiss national team captain Granit Xhaka who is on his way out of Arsenal. 

He narrated that during his spell at Basel, the Arsenal midfielder mentored him and developed him mentally as a player.

“Granit Xhaka is really a good person, good guy,” Okafor says. “On the pitch, off the pitch, he has helped me as a young player.

“I learn from him a lot, like training, mentality and everything, and I think that is so important because he is already a big player, a huge player."

"When I speak to him sometimes, I just feel good because… The way I’m on now, he did already, so I can learn and profit from him.”

Noah Okafor  |
Noah Okafor

6. Interests from top Premier League clubs

Several Premier League clubs came looking for Okafor, who had announced himself on the local scene and the continental stage. 

The youngster was linked with Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. 

However, none of the deals has pulled through yet. It remains to be seen what would transpire in the summer transfer window.

Noah Okafor |
Noah Okafor in action for RB Salzburg

7. FIFA World Cup appearance

Noah has played for the Swiss U15 and U17s as well as the senior national side. 

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He was among the 26-man squad that featured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

8. A move to Austria

He joined RB Salzburg in 2020 from Basel and has been performing at the highest level of the game.

The 23-year-old striker has been in scintillating form scoring 21 goals in 75 appearances so far.

9. A crucial UCL goal

Okafor's first Champions League goal was in 2021 and it was a very important one. 

He found the back of the net in a game against Sevilla in their 1-0 win, helping the club progress into the round of 16.

Courtesy of Noah Okafor's goal, FC Red Bull Salzburg became the first-ever Austrian team to qualify for the knockout phase of Europe's elite competition.