Former England defender cleared to play for Sierra Leone

National Sports

ZURICH (AP)Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday.

Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations.

Caulker will turn 30 before the tournament starts on Jan. 9 in Cameroon. Sierra Leone is in a group with Algeria, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea.

He was with Tottenham when making his only appearance for England in November 2012, scoring in a 4-2 loss at Sweden. The game is best known for Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring his fourth goal with a long-distance overhead kick.

Because that game was a friendly and Caulker never played in a competition game for England, FIFA rules let him switch eligibility to a country where he always had a family link.

Caulker currently plays in Turkey with Gaziantep, on loan from Fenerbahce.

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