Leverkusen star reveals heartbreak after AFCON-Nigeria snub

Leverkusen star reveals heartbreak after AFCON-Nigeria snub
Leverkusen's Nathan Tella (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the 0-2 goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between SV Darmstadt 98 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Darmstadt, Germany, 03 February 2024. EPA/RONALD WITTEK

by Thando Mpembe

Friday Mar 01, 2024. 16:05

Bayer Leverkusen star Nathan Tella has divulged that he was ‘quite disappointed’ after missing the 2023 AFCON finals.

The 24-year-old was omitted from the Nigeria squad that was selected by coach Jose Peseiro and went on to finish second in the tournament staged in Ivory Coast.

Tella, who has provided one assist and scored four goals in 14 German Bundesliga matches this season, was hoping to play in Africa’s biggest football tournament.

The England-born attacker has one Nigeria cap having been handed a surprise start in a 2026 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe back in November.

“It was good [playing for Nigeria]. I have always wanted to play international football. I never played international football when I was younger,” Tella told Bundesliga International. https://d02187.news-storage.bundesliga-international.com/mailfiles/7a/7abdfe37-ffb0-48e6-aae5-de10ec4c9cfa/MWI_Nathan%20Tella_February%202024.pdf?utm_source%3Dnewsletter%26utm_campaign%3DMedia+%252330+2023%252F24%26utm_medium%3Demail

“So, for me, it was my first experience to be part of an international team and it was good! It was a good opportunity to play and see what international football was like.

“In my head, I wanted to play in the African Cup of Nations and I wasn’t called up,” the attacking midfielder-come-winger continued.

“I was quite disappointed but then, at the same time, I looked at it as an opportunity to play here.”

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