Some good news for everybody's favorite Timbers forward, Bright Dike, as it appears that he's gotten his first ever national team call up from Nigeria. While Dike wasn't born in Nigeria himself, his parents were which makes him eligible to play for the African side. It also means that, while not excluded just yet, Dike probably doesn't see himself donning the USMNT kit anytime soon.
Obviously this is good news for the Portland Timbers as well. The current roster is looking at a long, cold offseason and Dike will surely want and need to get more experience over winter in order to be match fit ready by March of next year. Additionally, getting international experience is often important to the development of a player.
Dike will play his first game with Nigeria against Venezuela this Wednesday in Miami, FL. The current Nigerian team has qualified for the 2013 African Cup of Nations which begins in January. This week's game will surely be used to see if Dike has what it takes to compete at that level.
Full press release:
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that forward Bright Dike has been called into camp with the Nigeria National Team for a friendly against Venezuela on Wednesday in Miami, Fla. It is his first national team call-up at any level.
Dike, whose parents were born in Nigeria, will join the Nigeria National Team on Sunday in preparation for the friendly. Nigeria will play Venezuela at Marlins Park on Wednesday; kickoff is set for 5:05 p.m. (Pacific).
Nigeria is one of 16 countries that have qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which begins in January.
Dike, 25, finished his second MLS season as one of the Timbers’ leading scorers, recording five goals in 12 games over the final half of the 2012 campaign. Additionally, he tallied five goals in five appearances with the Timbers Reserves and recorded six goals and two assists during a two-month loan spell with the L.A. Blues of USL PRO last season.
A native of Edmond, Okla., Dike has compiled six goals in 23 matches over his first two MLS seasons with the Timbers.