Aluko: 5 things to know about Ipswich Town’s new Nigerian coach

Sone Aluko has hung up his boots and stepped into the coaching dugout, taking on a first team coach role at newly-promoted Premier League side Ipswich Town.

The former Nigerian forward recently announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 35, but clearly his passion for the beautiful game remains.

This marks a new chapter for Aluko, and for fans curious about the player-turned-coach, here's a quick rundown on his personal life and impressive career.

Sone Aluko’s background

Sone Aluko, born Omatsone Folarin Aluko on February 19, 1989, straddles England and Nigeria.

Hailing from Hounslow, England, Aluko's family heritage lies in Nigeria, with his father hailing from Ekiti State. This connection led him to represent the Super Eagles on the international stage, despite beginning his professional career in England.

Sone Aluko: 5 things to know about Ipswich Town's new Nigerian coach
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The 35-year-old forward/winger enjoyed a lengthy playing career that kicked off in 2007. After hanging up his boots in 2024, Aluko seamlessly transitioned into coaching.

Playing career

Sone Aluko's career spanned across two decades, starting at Birmingham City in 2007.

He spent his early years going on loan spells at Aberdeen and Blackpool before solidifying a place at Aberdeen from 2008 to 2011. Further moves to Rangers, Hull City, Fulham, and Reading followed, with a loan stint at Beijing Renhe in 2019.

Aluko ended his playing career at Ipswich Town in 2024, accumulating over 400 club appearances in total and scoring over 50 goals.

On the international stage, Aluko represented England at various youth levels before switching allegiance to Nigeria in 2009. Although capped only seven times for the senior Nigerian team, he'll be remembered for his dramatic two-goal performance as a substitute against South Africa in a 2014 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Football sibling

Sone Aluko, the recently retired footballer and new coach at Ipswich Town, isn't the only talented athlete in his family.

His sister, Eniola Aluko MBE, is a decorated Nigerian-British footballer who played professionally and now works as a football executive and broadcaster. Both siblings are children of Gbenga (now deceased) and Sileola Aluko.

The Aluko family's academic prowess

The Aluko family is a powerhouse not just on the football pitch, but also in the academic world.

Eniola, alongside her successful football career, managed to earn a law degree from Brunel University. Their political pedigree is evident in their father's experience as a former member of Parliament in Nigeria.

Further solidifying the family's intellectual prowess, Sone's uncle, Bolaji Aluko, holds a prestigious position as a chemical engineering professor at Howard University.

Aluko follows Emenalo's path

Sone Aluko's recent appointment as a coach at Ipswich Town marks a significant moment for Nigerian representation in the Premier League.

He becomes only the second Nigerian to take on a coaching role in the top tier of English football, following in the footsteps of Michael Emenalo.

Sone Aluko: 5 things to know about Ipswich Town's new Nigerian coach

Emenalo's trailblazing journey began in 2010 when he transitioned from Chelsea's chief scout to assistant first-team coach after the departure of Ray Wilkins. This appointment paved the way for more Nigerian coaches to aspire to management positions in the Premier League.

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Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.