At the 70th FIFA Congress held in September 2020 the congress voted to pass changes for eligibility in national teams.
Prior to this, the rules stated that players were tied to a national team for the rest of their international careers on the basis of a single appearance when they were younger. It meant that one appearance in a competitive match, including Nations League games, tied players to that country for life.
However, at the 70th Annual Congress, it was resolved that players were no longer tied to a national team on the basis of a single appearance. The rule change now allows players to switch nationalities if they have played no more than three competitive matches at the senior level prior to them turning 21, with no appearances for the first nation in a FIFA World Cup final match or continental finals.
In the ongoing 2022 World Cup in Qatar, quite a number of African players were seen representing non-African countries. The PUNCH takes a look at these African-born players making a mark on the global stage.
1. Ansu Fati
The 20-year-old plays as a forward for La Liga club Barcelona and the Spain national team. He was born in Guinea-Bissau but chose to represent the Spain national team after gaining citizenship.
2. Alphonso Davies
Davies, 22, plays for the Canadian national team. He is a left-back or winger for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. He was born in Buduburam, Ghana
3. Eduardo Camavinga
Eduardo Camavinga (Source: Sports Mole)
Eduardo Camavinga is a professional footballer who plays for the France national team. He is a midfielder for La Liga clubside Real Madrid. He was born in a refugee camp in Angola to Congolese parents but grew up in France.
4. Youssoufa Moukoko
Youssoufa Moukoko (Source: Bundesliga)
Youssoufa Moukoko plays as a striker for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and Germany national team. The 18-year-old was born in Yaounde, Cameroon.
5. Danilo Pereira
Danilo Pereira (Source: Football Database)
Danilo Pereira plays for the Portugal national team. He also plays as a defensive midfielder for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain. The 31-year-old was born on 9 September 1991 in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
6. Steve Mandanda
Steve Mandanda (Source: Google)
Steve Mandanda plays as a goalkeeper for the France national team and Ligue 1 club Rennes. The 37-year-old was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
7. Breel Embolo
Breel Embolo (Source: Eurosport)
Breel Embolo plays as a forward the Switzerland national team and Ligue 1 club Monaco. Embolo, 25, moved with his family to France before finally settling in Switzerland. He was born in Yaounde, Cameroon.
8. Mohammed Muntari
Mohammed Muntari (Source: Google)
Mohammed Muntari, 28, is a Ghanaian-born Qatari footballer who currently plays as a striker for Al-Duhail and the Qatar national team
9. Amadou Onana
Amadou Onana (Source: Archy Sport)
Amadou Onana plays as a defensive midfielder for the Belgium national team and Premier League club Everton. The 28-year-old was born in Dakar, Senegal
10. Ismaël Koné
Ismaël Koné (Source: Google)
Ismaël Koné is a professional football player who plays as a midfielder for CF Montréal. Born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he represents Canada at international level
11. Keanu Baccus
Keanu Baccus (Source: GlasgowWorld)
Keanu Baccus plays for the Australia national team. He was born in Durban, South Africa and also plays as a defensive midfielder for Scottish Premiership club St Mirren. He made his international debut for Australia in September 2022.
12. Musab Kheder
Musab Kheder (Source: Google)
Musab Kheder plays as a defender in Qatar national team. Born in Khartoum, Sudan Khedar also plays for Qatari sports club, Al-Sadd SC.
13. Boualem Khoukhi
Boualem Khoukhi (Source: Google)
Algerian-born Boualem Khoukhi, 32, plays as a centre-back for for Qatari sports club, Al Sadd SC in the Qatar Stars League. He represents Qatar in the national team
14. William Carvalho
William Carvalho (Source: Getty Images)
William Carvalho plays as a defensive midfielder for La Liga club Real Betis and the Portugal national team. He was born in Luanda, Angola and is 30-years-old.
15. Thomas Deng
Thomas Deng (Source: Getty Images)
Thomas Deng was born a South Sudanese refugee in Nairobi, Kenya. He plays as a central defender for Japanese club, Albirex Niigata and plays for the Australia national team.
16. Awer Mabil
Awer Mabil (Source: BBC)
Awer Mabil plays as a winger for La Liga club, Cádiz. Born a South Sudanese refugee in Kakuma, Kenya, he represents the Australia national team at international level. Mabil also played youth soccer at the South Australian National Training Centre
17. Garang Kuol
Garang Kuol (Source: ABC News)
Garang Kuol was born in Egypt and plays as a forward for Central Coast Mariners and the Australia national team. The 18-year-old will join English Premier League club, Newcastle United, in January 2023.