Nathan Tella: I was disappointed I did not get to play at AFCON 2023

Nathan Tella says he felt disappointed when he did not make the final cut for the 34th Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire but takes solace in the fact
that he still has many mopre opportunities to play international football.

Born in Lambeth, a borough of South London, to Nigerian parents, Tella started out life as a footballer in Arsenal’s youth academy, before moving to
Southampton FC and then on loan for Burnley FC, with whom he helped win the 2022-23 Championship title.

His dream of playing international football came true when he was called up by Nigeria head coach José Peseiro for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against
Lesotho and Zimbabwe in November 2023.

‘It was good. I have always wanted to play international football. I never played international football when I was younger. So, for me, it was my first
experience to be part of an international team and it was good!

‘It was a good opportunity to play and see what international football was like. In my head, I wanted to play in the African Cup of Nations and I wasn’t
called up.

‘I was quite disappointed but then, at the same time, I looked at it as an opportunity to play here. We had four players – obviously Victor Boniface got
injured –but if there are four players out, I would have more opportunity and I believe I did.

‘I was able to play more and able to score. Obviously, I was disappointed Nigeria didn’t win it but for my teammate Odilon (Kossounou), I am really happy for
him as well.’

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