Eleta Kingsley, a Nigerian native, finally fulfilled her goal of playing for Bangladesh on Saturday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka during Bangladesh’s FIFA friendly match against Seychelles.
Eleta, a striker who has been attempting to play for Bangladesh for many years, was substituted in during the second half after playing for Bangladeshi clubs for about a decade.
Eleta had to renounce his Nigerian passport in order to represent Bangladesh on the field.
During the first few months of Covid-19, when everyone was inside, Eleta was working to complete the protracted bureaucratic process that started in Nigeria and concluded in Bangladesh to become a citizen of Bangladesh.
In March 2021, he officially became a citizen of Bangladesh, and in June of that same year, he got his Bangladesh passport.
However, it took this Nigerian almost another two years to join the squad. Coaches continued to overlook him for the national team despite his consistent goal-scoring in the Bangladesh Premier League, mostly because of his advanced age, which had already passed 30.
Eleta’s lengthy and arduous journey to donning the Bangladesh flag came to an end when coach Javier Cabrera decided to include the 33-year-old in the squad for the FIFA friendlies against Seychelles and Seychelles.
At first, Cabrera didn’t include him in the XI. But after Tariq Quazi’s header gave Bangladesh a 1-0 advantage in the first half, Cabrera made the decision to insert Eleta as a replacement.
Eleta, a player for the Bashundhara Kings, who are currently BPL champions, resides in Dhaka with his Bangladeshi wife and their two daughters.