Crystal Palace Winger Wilfried Zaha Switches Allegiance From England to Ivory Coast
Crystal Palace Winger Wilfried Zaha has opted to represent his country of birth Ivory Coast after a lack of chances to prove himself at the international scene.
The 24-year-old was an England Under-21 team regular before earning a senior side call up. He then earned two caps for the English side against Sweden, in November 2012, and Scotland, in August 2013.
Born in Abidjan, Zaha is still eligible to play for the Les Elephants since both the matches he played for England were friendlies.
In a statement the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF), confirmed the switch saying,
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “The Ivorian-English attacking midfielder Wilfried Zaha has chosen to play for the Elephants, under the colors of Ivory Coast, his country of origin. The player has sent, on this Sunday November 27 2016, correspondence to FIFA to change his national team.”[/perfectpullquote]
They added that, “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.”
They concluded clarifying his eligibility saying,
“Born on November 10th 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 signed for Manchester United for a reported £10m fee but was loaned back to Crystal Palace Immediately. After a series of loans, he returned to Crystal Palace in 2015 where he has been a revelation ever since. He’s one of the club’s best players this season assisting in all five of their last games.
Sources have confirmed that Zaha won’t be able to complete the switch in time for the African Cup of Nations in Gabon but he surely would be a great boast to the Elephants as they fight to retain the title.
Featured Photo: Zaha in Crystal Palace Colors (Image from Getty Images)