Alex Iwobi makes competitive Nigeria debut to end England hopes

Alex Iwobi of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal
Image: Alex Iwobi made his competitive Nigeria debut on Friday

The Football Association's hopes of convincing Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi to represent England were ended on Friday night as he won his first competitive cap for Nigeria.

The 19-year-old appeared to confirm that he had received an approach from the FA but decided to represent the county of his birth and was a substitute in their 1-1 draw with Egypt in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier as some fans clung on to floodlights and the scoreboard to get a view of the game in the packed venue.

Supporters crammed in to see the African Cup of Nations qualification match between Egypt and Nigeria
Image: Supporters crammed in to see the Africa Cup of Nations qualification match

An estimated 40,000 supporters turned out at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, which is listed as a 16,000 capacity arena, as officials decided let spectators in for free.

Iwobi, who scored his first Arsenal goal in the 2-0 win over Everton last week, had represented England at U16, U17 and U18 level but had already featured twice for Nigeria in friendly matches before making his competitive debut, which means he cannot now represent the Three Lions.

Supporters sit on the roof of a house to watch the African Cup of Nations qualification match between Egypt and Nigeria
Image: Supporters sit on the roof of a house to watch the match in Kaduna

He came on as a second half substitute, while Manchester City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho also made an appearance.

Egypt's forward Ahmed Hassan Koka (R) vies with Nigeria's midfielder Efe Ambrose
Image: Nigeria midfielder Efe Ambrose (front) vies with Egypt's Ahmed Hassan Koka

After the match Iwobi said on Twitter: "Unlucky not to win but happy to have made my competitive debut for Nigeria.

"Would also like thank you to England for giving me the chance to represent them."

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A policeman rides a horse as he patrols during the African Cup of Nations qualification match between Egypt and Nigeria
Image: A policeman on horseback partrols in front of fans at the match

Oghenekaro Etebo scored for the home side on the hour mark before former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah equalised for Egypt in the dying minutes. 

Security officials remove a man who tried to hug Nigerian players during the African Cup of Nations qualification match against Egypt
Image: Security officials remove a man who tried to hug Nigerian players

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