SuperSport teenager yet to decide on Bafana Bafana or Nigeria

SuperSport teenager yet to decide on Bafana Bafana or Nigeria

SuperSport United teenage defender Ime Okon has told SABC Sport he is yet to decide which national team to commit his future to between Bafana Bafana and the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The 19-year-old is in his first season in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) topflight after he was promoted by coach Gavin Hunt to the senior team in July, and after two matches the centre-back was already named by Hugo Broos in Bafana’s preliminary squads in September and October. 

Having been born in South Africa, but having a Nigerian father means Okon is eligible for selection by the Super Eagles, and he’s keeping that door open. 

"I just don't want any pressures, but I just keep my mind open to both and whatever comes first then we'll see what happens because it's quite a tough decision for me.  South Africa is a country I was born and bred in, but Nigeria knows is my home where my dad is from", he said. 

Broos initially named Okon as part of the 33-man preliminary squad ahead of the two friendly matches against eSwatini and Ivory Coast this month, but dropped the youngster when he cut the selection to 23 players. The tall defender says he has received some advice from SuperSport youth coach Thabo September. 

"It's very tough to make, but I feel like whenever the opportunity comes I'll take it with both hands. I've spoken to coach Thabo September he also just advised me that I should just keep my options open, and whatever comes I should just take the opportunity." 

Okon could have the choice made on his behalf should either national team hand him a debut in any of their official matches. According to football’s world governing body FIFA, friendly matches do not count, but the former Randburg AFC youngster admits being on Broos’ radar means Bafana have the upper hand. 

"I'd say for now it's better with South Africa because with Hugo Broos he sees us around. With Nigeria, it'll be quite tough, but I just do my best to also get a call up there."