Super Eagles hopeful, Gboly Ariyibi is attracting interest from the USA men's national team
Gboly Ariyibi faces an international crossroads between Nigeria and the United States after an impressive individual season.
MKE Ankaragucu finished the 2021/22 season on top of the Turkish second division table, earning promotion to the top flight as champions in the process.
One of the key contributors to Ankaragucu’s ascension to the Turkish Super Lig is Gboly Ariyibi, the American-born winger of Nigerian descent.
The 27-year-old forward only just joined the club last summer and featured in 30 out of 36 possible league games in what was a solid debut season in Turkish football which is now reportedly earning him international attention.
The American dream
Gboly Ariyibi ended the season with three league goals but his talent is clearly beyond finding the back of the net as the winger is now said to have been contacted by the United States men’s national team in preparation for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Gboly was born in Arlington County, Virginia which makes him a United States citizen by birth under circumstances that could best be described as fortuitous.
Ms Agoro (Gboly’s mom) lived in Nigeria and would often visit her sister in the United States and it was on one of these trips that Gboly made his grand entrance into the world on the 18th of January 1995.
That makes him eligible to represent the ‘Land of the free and the home of the brave’ which he has done already, once at under 20 level and four times for the under 23s.
Arise o compatriot
Now 27 years old with his career now back on track and playing football consistently at a high level, senior national team football seems to be the next logical step in Ariyibi’s career.
And while we have already established that the USMNT have already been in contact with him, Gboly also has the option of waiting for a Super Eagles invite to materialise.
Born Omogbolahan Ariyibi to two Nigerian (more specifically, Yoruba) parents, Gboly lived in Agbara, Ogun state with his family between the ages of three and six years old before moving to Oxford, England where he grew up.
Despite being able to claim citizenship of two other countries, Gboly’s Nigerian identity is not in doubt as the man himself displayed recently while celebrating MKE Ankaragucu’s title win.
Ariyibi has also made it clear in the past that Nigeria is his priority, “I’ve always wanted to play for the Super Eagles” were the words from the horse’s mouth in an interview with Eagles Tracker two years ago.
First come, first serve
Defending his decision to play age-grade football for the United States despite Nigeria being his first choice, Gboly made it known to be a matter of the early bird getting the proverbial worm.
‘“Obviously I was born in America, that opportunity came first and nobody contacted me from Nigeria so yeah, that was like a no-brainer,” Ariyibi said clearing the air.
Once again, the United States has beaten Nigeria to the first approach, this time at the highest level and even there’s reason to believe it will go just as it did the first time around if no one puts Ariyibi on the Super Eagles’ radar.
Though the man clearly loves Nigeria and has dreamt of representing the Super Eagles just like his idol Jay-Jay Okocha, it would be unfair to expect him to turn down a USA call-up in a World Cup year without assurances from Nigeria.