CHELSEA winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has agreed to play for Ghana when the Black Stars lock horns with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a World Cup play-off next month after former Brighton manager Chris Hughton convinced him to make the switch.
Hudson-Odoi, 21, has represented England three times at senior level but is eligible for a nationality switch because all three appearances came before his 21st birthday and none came at a major tournament. To be eligible to play for Ghana, he now has to apply for a switch of nationality through Fifa and has agreed to do that.
Yesterday, the winger was in Accra, the Ghanaian capital with his father Bismark Odoi and Mr Hughton, who is currently tying up a deal to coach the Black Stars. Later today, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is expected to officially announce Mr Hughton as the new Black Stars manager after the two sides finalised negotiations yesterday at the Labadi Royal Beach Hotel in Accra.
Apparently, the young Chelsea winger was convinced to make the switch to Ghana from England by Mr Hughton and her agreed to do so. Getting on with the jib with a gusto, Mr Hughton also plans to meet with Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey and Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu soon, to convince them to play for Ghana.
Given the delay with the Fifa switch process, however, it is unlikely that Hudson-Odoi’s clearance will come through before the March games. Nigeria and Ghana will meet in a two-legged play-off between March 24 and 29 in Kumasi and Abuja respectively.
While the GFA appears to have completed the process of replacing Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac who was sacked after a poor African Cup of Nations outing, Nigeria is dogged by uncertainty. Nigerian Football Federation officials have been unable to agree a contract with Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro who they appointed in December and it is unclear how long interim coach Augustine Eguavoen will continue for.