LONDON: Wilfried Zaha has decided to play his senior national team football for Ivory Coast after failing to follow up on his original England breakthrough.
The 24-year-old Crystal Palace winger was an England Under-21 team regular before stepping up to the senior side and earning caps against Sweden, in November 2012, and Scotland, in August 2013.
But because neither match was a competitive fixture, Zaha has been able to commit to the Ivory Coast, the country’s national football association announced on Sunday.
It announced in a statement: “The Ivorian-English attacking midfielder Wilfried Zaha has chosen to play for the Elephants, under the colours of the Ivory Coast, his country of origin. The player has sent, on this Sunday November 27 2016, correspondence to FIFA to change his national team.
“Approached several weeks ago by the Federation Ivoirienne de Football (FIF), Wilfried Zaha has made his choice this Sunday in London.
“In the presence of his father, of Augustin Sidy Diallo (president of the FIF) and Michel Dussuyer (Elephants coach), he signed at the bottom of the demand to change his sporting nationality addressed to FIFA.
“Born on November 10 in Abidjan, Wilfried Zaha grew up in England, the country for which he made two appearances in friendly matches. However the Crystal Palace player remains eligible to play for the Ivory Coast.”