Victor Kayode remains committed to Sierra Leone

Victor Igbekoyi Kayode

Nigerian-born midfielder Victor Kayode says he is committed to Sierra Leone, despite not appearing in their Africa Cup of Nations defeat to Tunisia.

Kayode was set to make his debut for Leone Stars last Saturday, after doubts were removed over his eligibility.

He failed to even make the bench, however, as his adopted country were eliminated on away goals, after a 2-2 aggregate scoreline.

But the 25-year-old says he still "belongs to Sierra Leone".

Kayode was born in Ondo state to Nigerian parents but qualifies to play for Leone Stars through his maternal grandfather.

He was first selected by coach Lars Olof Mattsson for the first leg of the final qualifying round tie in August.

But after questions were raised by BBC Sport as to how Kayode qualified to represent Sierra Leone, he was withdrawn from the squad.

The path was then subsequently cleared for him to make his international bow, as it emerged that his grandfather was born in Sierra Leone, but Mattsson left him out of his selection for the second leg qualifier - a decision which disappointed the midfielder.

"Really, I was disappointed, because I was focused on this game," Kayode told BBC Sport.

"When I heard [I was cleared to play], I was so focused, because I believed that even if I did not start the game, maybe I would be on the bench, and I might [get on] for five or 10 minutes.

"But when they said I would not play, I felt sad, but at the same time, you have to cheer up and pray for the others who are playing."

Kayode, who plays his club football in Azerbaijan, expressed an interest in playing for Sierra Leone as recently as four months ago.

He was introduced to Mattsson by friend and Leone Stars skipper Ibrahim Kargbo, ahead of World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers in June.

After failing to make Mattsson's selections to date, he remains determined to fight for his place in the Sierra Leone side, however.

"I really want to join the Leone Stars. I want to show myself. I want to play and I want people to see me and make them happy.

"When they said I could not play, I had to encourage myself and say 'come on, life goes on, keep it up and do the right thing'."

Kayode remains eligible for Nigeria, but says he would decline an invitation to appear for the Super Eagles in favour of Leone Stars.

"I'm not coming to Sierra Leone because they haven't invited me to the Nigerian national team.

"I'm coming because I have an interest and I want to play for Sierra Leone.

"I belong to Sierra Leone. I cannot play for any other country. Even if Nigeria come and invite me in the future, I cannot go."