England-based striker Ini Umotong has revealed her shock at being invited by Nigeria for the Alanya Women’s Tournament in Turkey, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
African champions the Super Falcons will participate in the invitational tournament in April along with seven other countries.
Umotong, 23, plays for Brighton & Hove Albion in the Women’s Super League 2, the second division of women’s football in England.
Brighton are currently third in the league with 16 points from eight matches, seven points adrift of leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles who have played one game more.
“It was a feeling of shock, excitement and anxiousness. I was so excited, as I’ve been waiting for a call-up for a long time and it was really emotional,” Umotong told Brighton’s official website.
“The new coach Thomas Dennerby emailed me, and my heart stopped a bit when I found out that it had all been confirmed.
“My family were very happy and proud once they found out, and I’m so pleased with how it’s all turned out.”
The 23-year-old has one senior cap to date and explained how playing internationally is different to club football.
“I’ve been called up twice before. I have one official cap and I was called up to the Nigeria squad for the World Cup in 2015, but didn’t make any appearances,” she added.
“It was definitely the best experience of my career so far and I just turned 21 at the time. I played against Mali in Mali for my debut in February 2015.
“The playing style is completely different, but I loved it as it was really fast-paced and physical. It was a playing style I adapted to and took back to my playing club. I learned so much being around that standard.”
Umotong holds dual nationality and is also eligible to play for England, but opted for Nigeria.
“I was born in Nigeria and I came over to the UK as a one-year old, so I have dual nationality and two passports,” she explained.
“The thought was always there [to play for England]. I was called up to a couple of youth camps at under-15 level, so I always had the possibility to play for England.
“But Nigeria suited my playing style more, as they’re very direct and physical, so it just felt right to play for Nigeria.”