Rangers’ Dio makes surprise choice and gets first international call up

Rangers’ Dio makes surprise choice and gets first international call up
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Mohamed Diomande of Rangers celebrates after he scores the opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Heart of Midlothian at Ibrox Stadium on February 24, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It really was something of a surprise that new Rangers midfielder Mohamed Diomandé has chosen to change his allegiances, and after turning out for Côte d’Ivoire, the country of his birth, he’s switched to Ghana.

There’s a bit of background to this – he is 100% Ivorian, and represented them at youth level.

But his youth career was actually spent in Ghana where he was part of the Right to Dream Academy which effectively reared him.

The understanding is his time there was enough to earn him a Ghanian passport, and when Ivory Coast called him up as a youth player, he was still happy to represent his native land at that level.

But in the same way golfer Rory McIlroy chose to represent the Republic of Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics despite being British and Northern Ireland, Diomande has elected to switch his country.

So, to further explain this:

McIlroy elaborated that while he is Northern Irish, his younger years in golf were spent on the ROI circuit, and he felt a bond to that part of the world in a sporting sense. He felt that’s where his loyalties actually were. They had given him his career, in short.

Ibrox new boy Diomande we suggest feels the same. He has no blood ties to Ghana at all, no family there or of that nationality, but by way of his citizenship and that passport, and his youth in football being through Ghana, he’s chosen to represent them at senior international level.

No denying Ivory Coast will be more than a spot disappointed with his decision, but we wonder if he believes he has more chance of playing for Ghana, who aren’t terribly good right now, than the Ivory Coast, who just won the AFCON.

But even that has a caveat. Ivory Coast themselves aren’t great – they qualified for the KO stage by the skin of their teeth, just one point ahead of Ghana and as the lowest-ranked ‘best loser’ of third-placed group teams.

Ghana missed out. Ivory coast won the AFCON in one of the biggest shocks following that dire group stage. They were pretty horrible in the KO stages as well.

So ultimately, he’s just made a choice. He’s chosen the country he was raised footballing-wise in, versus the country of his birth.

It’s a strange choice in some ways, but it’s his choice.

And Rangers’ newest signing already received his first call up for the Republic of Ghana. We wish him well.

No posts to display