Wilfried Zaha, a winger for Premier League Club Crystal Palace, has decided to switch his international allegiance to Ivory Coast from England according the Ivorian Football Federation.
The Abidjan-born Zaha grew up in England and won two caps for the Three Lions in international friendly games – against Sweden in 2012 and Scotland the following year.
He reportedly sent a letter to the World Football governing body FIFA requesting to swap his international allegiance.
“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.
“In the presence of his father, of Augustin Sidy Diallo (president of the Ivorian Football Federation) and Michel Dussuyer (Elephants coach), he signed at the bottom of the demand to change his sporting nationality addressed to FIFA,” the Federation said in a statement.
However, Crystal Palace boss may have hinted on the possible reason why Zaha will be making such a change.
Alan Pardew said on Friday that Zaha had been “pushed forward, probably by his agent or people around him” to make the change but could “understand his frustration” at not being picked for England.
Zaha, who advanced into the Crystal Palace first team from their academy in 2010, will be eligible for the African Cup of Nations that will begin on January 14 in Gabon if his request is granted. This would mean the 24-year old missing 6 weeks of the season at Palace.
By Ben Fidelis…
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