I Have No Regrets Choosing AFCON Over Torino - Ola Aina 

Published on: 23 June 2022

Super Eagles defender Ola Aina has stated that he had no regrets to have chosen to represent his country at the 2021 AFCON played in Cameroon rather than staying back with his club Torino in the Serie A, Nigeriasoccernet can report.

The 2021 AFCON was played between January and February of 2022 when European leagues were in their climaxes.

The tournament generated a lot of talking points with so many clubs not willing to let go of their key players some of which eventually got punished for dumping their clubs for national assignment at that stage.

One of Nigeria players to fall victim of such rash treatment was Kelechi Nwakali who was playing for Huesca at some points.

His decision eventually led to the termination of his contract.

Another player who obviously was used as a scape goat is Nigeria defender Ola Aina who prior to the tournament was a regular starter for the Italian Serie A outfit and was only absent from the squad once between August and December 2021 before departing for the mid-season tournament.

The full-back made just five appearances from a possible 16 after returning from the continental showpiece in Cameroon.

Speaking to BBC Sport Africa regarding the matter, Ola Aina said:

"My season was up and down. The first half from August before I left for the AFCON was okay, a few good performances and some things in those games I think were quite nice as well,"

"And then after the Afcon things really slowed up for me.

"I wasn't being selected in the starting XI and playing games wasn't free-flowing as prior, but I have no regrets whatsoever."

"I don't think it's difficult because if it was a tournament for the Europeans to go to, I don't think it will be a problem for anyone to go to.

"The next World Cup [in Qatar] is happening during the season and everyone is stopping because it's the World Cup - it's an international tournament and there's no problem with that.

"We'll see what the future holds, and hopefully whatever team it is or whether I stay at Torino, they will understand that the African Cup of Nations and playing for my country is a big part of my career and life, so I will be hoping to continue to play for Nigeria without any problems."