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Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched his international allegiance to Sierra Leone, FIFA have confirmed.
Caulker, 29, is eligible to play for Sierra Leone through his grandfather, who hails from the African nation.
The former Tottenham and Liverpool defender could now feature at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which is due to get underway on January 9.
Sierra Leone's FA president Thomas Daddy Brima told BBC Sport Africa: "I can confirm that the player's status chamber of FIFA has just cleared Caulker to represent Sierra Leone."
Caulker, who now plays his club football for Turkish side Gaziantep on loan from Fenerbahce, has been allowed to switch his international allegiance as his only appearance for England was in a friendly against Sweden in 2012.
Caulker scored for the Three Lions in a 4-2 loss in Stockholm, which also featured four goals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic – including an incredible overhead kick.
Former Cardiff and QPR defender Caulker is now expected to be named in Sierra Leone’s squad for AFCON, which will be hosted by Cameroon next month.
The ‘Leone Stars’ are scheduled to face Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and the Ivory Coast in Group E.
Doubts remain over whether the tournament will go ahead as planned because of the rise in coronavirus cases due to the Omicron variant.
However, Lux September, head of media relations for African football’s governing body, CAF, insists the tournament will be held next month.
“Nobody else has been told to cancel their event. Why only Africa? Has anyone written a letter to other confederations who are staging events? It is clear hypocrisy in dealing with Africa,” September told i, amid reports European clubs are pressuring CAF to cancel the tournament.
“The new CAF leadership simply does not accept this. The AFCON is an important tournament generating revenue for CAF. We need this.
“Of course we will stage AFCON under the best conditions possible.”
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