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Sports News
Stephen makes Nigeria wait 5/16/2007
Spanish under-19 midfielder Sunday Stephen has said he would love to represent his country of birth, Nigeria, one day despite turning down a recent call-up.

The youngster rejected the chance to play against Uganda next month, saying he was keen to sort out his future in Spanish football instead.

"I want to play at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Canada (in July) and that remains my target," Stephen told BBC Sport on Tuesday.

"For now I enjoy representing the Spanish under-19 side as we are doing well ahead of the European Championship in Austria.

"It will be a dream come true to play for Nigeria someday but now is not just the right time for me."

The 18-year-old, who plays for Spanish second division side Poli Ejido, has rejected a call from Nigeria manager Berti Vogts in order to concentrate on his club career and a possible end-of-season transfer.

"I got an invitation to come down for Nigeria''s (Nations Cup qualifier) against Uganda, which is quite exciting," Stephen explained.

"The coach''s assistant [Emeka Ezeala] asked me to try and come down but I told him I have to help my club in our last five games of the season.

"My club coach insists he needs my service and I must confess the Nigerian call up came at a wrong time for me.

"More importantly, there is an on-going transfer negotiation involving me and the club wants me to stay back at Almeria, so I told them I want to stay here and sort things out."

Stephen has been linked with a move to giants Valencia after the Spanish season ends next month.

Vogts'' technical assistant Emeka Ezeala revealed that Stephen (who is presently in camp with the Spanish under-19 team) is in the long-term plans of the former German coach.

"We spoke with Sunday Stephen and asked him to try and come down for the game but he says he won''t be able to make it," Ezeala told BBC Sport.

"I passed on Vogts'' message that if he fails to come down for the training camp in Kenya on 26 May, he should not bother turning up in Kampala.

"Vogts says the door of the national team has not been shut on him as he''s young and remains an integral part of his 2010 World Cup plans."

Fifa regulations allow players with dual nationality to change their international allegiance before the age of 21 if they have not won a full international cap.


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