Wilfried Zaha to switch allegiances to Ivory Coast
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has chosen to swap nations and represent Ivory Coast instead of England. Zaha has represented England at the youth levels also making two appearances for the senior side, although the two fixtures against Sweden and Scotland weren’t official games.
As the player has not officially represented England, the Ivorian-born Zaha is eligible to play for Ivory Coast. His club manager, Alan Pardew believes Zaha should have gotten an England call-up.
Since Zaha didn’t receive any call from England, he is said to have contacted the Ivorian Football Federation who released a statement that read: "The Ivorian-English attacking midfielder Wilfried Zaha has chosen to play for the Elephants, under the colours of the Ivory Coast, his country of origin. The player has sent, on this Sunday, November 27, 2016, correspondence to FIFA to change his national team. Approached several weeks ago by the Federation Ivoirienne de Football (FIF), Wilfried Zaha has made his choice this Sunday in London.
"In the presence of his father, of Augustin Sidy Diallo (president of the FIF) and Michel Dussuyer (Elephants coach), he signed at the bottom of the demand to change his sporting nationality addressed to FIFA.
"Born on November 10 in Abidjan, Wilfried Zaha grew up in England, the country for which he made two appearances in friendly matches. However, the Crystal Palace player remains eligible to play for the Ivory Coast."
Zaha moved to England at the age of 4, joining the Palace Academy as a graduate, going on the break into the first team before Sir Alex Ferguson signed him at Manchester United.
However, the then United manager retired before the arrival of Zaha and Ferguson’s replacement David Moyes did not deem the Crystal Palace winger to be good enough.
Also Read: Analysing FIFA's eligibility rules
The 24-year-old Crystal Palace winger could feature in the African Cup of Nations if the legal formalities go through.
The winger has come to life this term in his second stint at Palace, becoming a key figure for Alan Pardew’s side. However, Palace have gone six games without a win, as the pressure grows on Pardew with Palace most recently losing a thriller to fellow strugglers Swansea City.
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